I can only be poked so often…

An excellent post on Snipperoo (Via Cybersoc) on why Facebook really isn’t going to change the world. It’s hard to disagree with, even if some of the tech talk goes slightly over my head.

I like Facebook. I spend waaaaaay more time than is good for me on there. It’s definitely more user-friendly and easier to work than the often-headache inducing (and, like Darren Anderton, permanently crocked) MySpace. There’s certainly a lot of unexplored potential. But I can’t see it changing the world: it’s just currently the market leader in what it does, and what it does, it does well.

But the site still feels like a distraction rather than a necessity. It doesn’t actually do anything. Actually let me rephrase that: it doesn’t do anything I currently find useful.

It’s not Google, in terms of searching. It’s not wordpress, or even blogger in terms of blogging – if I’m blogging, then it’s intended for the whole world, not just friends. While I can import blog posts from here, it’s more a way of letting friends know I’m actually writing something (which, face it, hasn’t been happening much of late) than driving up traffic, and isn’t technorati when it comes to sifting through relevant blog posts.

If there’s an RSS-collating tool I’ve yet to find it. Even then, it’ll have to do a lot to supplant netvibes or Google Reader in my affections. The groups are too arbitrary, too saturated, have little quality control and, with the exception of the I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue Appreciation society, there doesn’t appear to be any definite ones for certain fan areas. I’ve joined about four Exeter City related groups, but none of them reach the level of the dedicated fan site, Exeweb.

It can be useful for tracking people down for stories, or for info on a particular event. It is a fantastic way to keep in touch with friends. But there’s plenty of other reasons I use the net and it doesn’t come anywhere near providing any kind of competition for these.

And because the service is more social than crossing the work/play divide, it’s vulnerable to crisp syndrome. If Myspace was Golden Wonder, and Friends Reunited Smith Salt n Shake, the Facebook it currently Walkers. Chances are it’ll still be around and popular for years to come, but when somebody comes up with the social networking equivalent of Pringles (and its only a matter of time before that happens) then it’ll suffer.

To continue the food analogy, if Facebook is to become the internet equivalent of a Heinz or Coca-Cola style brand (something that Google currently is), then it needs to come up with something extra to make sure it’s not surpassed, something that makes people say, ‘Yeah, there are other networking sites out there, but I’m sticking with this one.’ I’m not convinced its reached that stage yet.

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2 Responses to “I can only be poked so often…”


  1. 1 tastewar August 6, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    i must agree that facebook is currently a gargantuan gaping blackhole waste of time, however i do believe it provides the service of filling time in between doing nothing (i check mine at least once every hour to 1/2 an hour)… so for those who sit at desks all day or who are too lazy to actually call friends to see what they’re doing, facebook is a great way to dwindle away ones life. oh and for the 2.2 hours that face book was down about 2 weeks ago i along with my co-workers experienced deep seated withdrawls symptoms, including fever chills and night sweats…

  2. 2 doctorvee August 8, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    if Facebook is to become the internet equivalent of a Heinz or Coca-Cola style brand (something that Google currently is), then it needs to come up with something extra to make sure it’s not surpassed, something that makes people say, ‘Yeah, there are other networking sites out there, but I’m sticking with this one.’

    Do you not think Facebook Platform has pushed Facebook towards this kind of stage? I read someone say that it was a genius move, because it means that not only are Facebook’s rivals competing with Facebook, but they are now competing with other rivals on Facebook.


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