Tag Archives: Trends

Is Facebook #Winning?

I tend to shy away from predictions in an area as fluid as social media. The intertubes are filled with plenty of old pages proclaiming the eternal dominance of MySpace, the coming failure of Facebook, and a host of other predictions that have been laughably off the mark.

But I have had this nagging feeling in the back of my head for a few weeks that I think Twitter might be losing out to Facebook at long last.

Granted, this isn’t scientific at all, but a couple of anecdotal indicators on the ground.

First, I have a few friends who have been shutting down/tuning out Twitter. They’ve said they find it too hard to keep up. Others that the 140 character limit while fun at first has become cumbersome. Most of all, though, I’ve heard people say that they feel like they can get done what they used to do on Twitter better on Facebook (without such a hard character limit).

Second, I’ve noticed how one of our local news stations is no longer promoting Twitter like they used to. KOMO News is a local Seattle news outlet. For a couple of years now, they have been actively promoting the Chief Meteorologist, Steve Pool’s, Twitter handle and Facebook page. Lately though, their on-air promotion has stopped promoting Twitter and now only highlights Facebook.

Granted, this isn’t scientific. But I can’t help but have this sneaking suspicion that Facebook’s attempts to be a social media platform (as opposed to an application) is slowly succeeding. Why use Foursquare, Twitter, and IM when you can get it all done through Facebook? Their ability to unite multiple social actions into a single place has an advantage of simplicity.

Add to this that Facebook clearly has been able to develop a viable revenue model for their service while Twitter still seems to struggle in that arena. And finally, consider the fact that Twitter’s leadership seems to be in turmoil lately. Take all them together and this may be the window in which, when the history books are written, Twitter entered its decline and Facebook began to overcome it.

Again, we shall see. I refuse to call this a prediction. Let’s just call this an observation of a possibility.

This may be the time when Facebook started #winning.

A Death, A Birth, A Possible Terminal Diagnosis

It’s an interesting 24 hours in the world of social networking with big news related to three big companies that marks them moving to a new stage. Basically, we’re seeing a death, a birth, and a possible terminal diagnosis.

First the death. Kara Swisher is reporting this morning at allthingsd.com that News Corp. is selling MySpace. Based on the excellent, detailed story on MySpace over at Bloomberg Businessweek and the fact that  News Corp paid $580 Million in 2005 and is unloading it today for $35 Million, it’s clear that MySpace is following Friendster to the Island of Misfit Social Networking sites.

Next the birth. Google announced yesterday it’s latest attempt at a Facebook killer: Google+. It’s very early, to be sure. But some of the early reviews of it sound that after the failure of Buzz and Wave, the third time may be a charm and Google may have something that will stick around.

Finally, a possible terminal diagnosis: Twitter. Biz Stone announced yesterday that he’s leaving Twitter. On the heels of several other reshufflings and the fact that Stone has been the face of Twitter from the beginning, you have to wonder if this is going to turn out to be Twitter’s “jump the shark” moment.

We’ll see how this all plays out. But it’s been a big day for social networkng.

This just in: Facebook isn’t new and shiny any more…

…and in other news, people get bored eventually.

Last week the blog Inside Facebook reported that Facebook had lost in the neighborhood of 8 million users from the United States, Canada, and other industrialized countries.

Since there, there’s understandably been discussion and analysis about what that means. Blake Snow posted some analysis of this over at CNN talking about some of the reasons why people are dropping Facebook.

It’s an interesting read, and to his credit, Snow isn’t predicting the coming demise of Facebook.

While some might take the declining numbers and anecdotal evidence of people deleting their accounts as the first sign that Facebook has peaked and is starting its decline, I think that evidence tells a different story. I think that evidence tells us that Facebook is becoming better understood, more mature, and more integrated into our lives.

Let me give a personal example (and show I’m old too). When I was six or so in the mid 1970’s, my mother brought home from work an amazing new thing called a “calculator“. I was amazed and played with it for hours, most of the day in fact. But over time, they became more common and more broadly used. And so over time, they became better understood and more integrated into my life. I don’t spend hours playing with calculators like I did that day, but I can’t live without them. Some people though, don’t need them. But I’ll bet they’ve used them at some point in their life because they’re so integrated.

I think the same applies to Facebook (and other social media). We’ve all had time to start figuring out what’s its good for, what it’s not good for, what we like about it, and what we don’t like about it. I may not use it as much as I did before, but where I do use it, I use it more intelligently and meaningfully. It’s more integrated into my life than it was in the early days.

My take on this (and there’s some hints of this in Snow’s article at the end) is that social media has shown its a permanent new addition to our world of communications, just like when the telephone became widely used in the mid-Twentieth century. The demise of Facebook won’t come about because people don’t see a need for it in their lives. The demise of Facebook will come about much like the demise of the old Trimline telephone I used that same day my mother brought me the calculator: because something will better fill its space in our lives, giving us even more capabilities and options.