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Friday, 07 August 2009



I disagree that Facebook is losing any value because of age demographics. I also disagree that it is actually set up like a big chain letter. However, the zillions of junk applications that users are addicted to are nothing but chain letters, the bare bones Facebook platform itself isn't. But users misuse even the basic platform such as the wall and "notes" to send stupid chain letters. Most of the applications people use are nothing but spammy viral crap, and there are way too many groups that instruct you to invite all your friends and add everybody in the group as your friend. So, it's not Facebook itself that's the problem, it's the misuse of it by app developers and by users who just can't resist any viral pest that tricks them into thinking it's fun or cool. Walls and the notes are meant for people to write down messages for others, and their own personal thoughts. Instead, people are junking these up with chain letter hoaxes and questionaires that are quite frankly, dead-boring to read! http://chainletters.pbworks.com


Hm. Interesting that the one social media you think the most valuable is the one that doesn't (yet) accommodate advertising! If you had to pay to use Twitter, would you? Would all the people (that matter most to you) that you touch on Twitter also be willing to pay? -- or would the value of a personally comprehensive network be too diminished to continue to invest attention in it?

FB has value as another "large network" and demands as its coin a user's attention. As Eric points out there are ways to harness these demands, although I'm not sure how many people (e.g. boomers) will figure them out, or take the time (e.g. youngers) to figure them out. Perhaps the "price" will exceed the value, and FB will fade.

I think Twitter has it nailed as a personalized "news network." I am still waiting for social networks to realize their potential as the instruments of frictionless commerce. When I find blueberries for 75 cents a pound, I'll let all my friends in town know Now. When flights into Moscow are on one-day sale for $50, I'll let all my Palouse connections know Now. When I finally find more of those trouser hangers my mom bought 15 years ago that snap closed and stay closed, at any price... well you get the idea.


Dennis -
I think you have a point, but I think you're also mixing two different issues:
1. FB becomes less useful as your universe of friends becomes larger. I agree. At the core of this issue is that the number of status updates and messages you get from someone is determined by THEIR posting rate not YOUR interest in them. I think FB is beginning to address this by having you add people to "lists". Essentially, over time, they'll let you filter things in a way that you'll be able to determine how much you see from whom. (I think of this as concentric circles. You can be friends with someone but not that interested... you put them in an outer circle and hear less from them).
2. The fact that use if a product by young people neither predicts it use by those same young people in a year nor by the next group of young people. Even if FB (or MySpace or Twitter) were the PERFECT product for kids 15-24, that age group (at any point in time) has little built up history or brand loyalty. Their needs and wants are changing about every 3 weeks - so they're very open to new products, what's hip, etc. So it is INEVITABLE that they will move on from whatever they're using today. Will FB try to create a new youth brand? Will someone else come up with the next cool thing for teens? TBD...

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