The Internet itself was built on a social networking foundation. Email, Usenet, BBS were created for users to share information, socialize, exchange tips and stories, and very limited photos. Technological advancements in transmission and PC power just made the text based social sites obsolete to web based today. Internet users are still socializing.
The fierce competition between Facebook and Google+ in addition to all the new social network sites coming online in hopes to be the next one to take the crown is not unifying people but dividing them. Facebook appears to be a the central place for socializing but Facebook’s usage is not as interactive as everyone believes. Now, days before the IPO, Facebook’s shell is beginning to show some cracks and rust.
I personally have been on Facebook for years. Just looking at my personal use, a person who is plugged in and more active on the Internet than the average person, I can tell my social network use has shifted significantly. When Facebook was more dynamic, the Wall could be customized to your preferences, the front page could be ordered how you wanted, apps/widgets were out there to install or not install. Facebook was a great fun place to be. I would spend hours out there. Today I am on Facebook less than 10 min a day and the only thing I do is scan through the statues, once in the morning and once at night. That’s it.
The old Facebook was about socializing. Personalization. My favorite Wall widget was the buttons. That widget was almost Pinterest like, being able to post buttons that reflect an idea, position, photo, political candidate, anything unique about you. The comments and conversations that spun off of that was great, interactive, social. Then Facebook changed to be more focused on informational statuses and less on uniqueness. That’s when Facebook started to lose me. The biggest social networking site started their shift of becoming less about socializing. Posting a short status update is not socializing.
But Binary, Facebook has 900 million users?
So what? Once you get to a point of that many people you get members just from a “Everyone else is, me too” influx. “All my friends and family are planning the parties on Facebook, I am not on there but I guess I will have to.” So what? How are the users using it?
Zygna games, a huge usage on Facebook. So what? The games are individual activities, not multiplayer in a social aspect but turn based. Check your status or text messages to see when its your turn on Words With Friends, play, wait… I have 6 or 7 games in flight in Words With Friends and Scramble With Friends, you know how much social interactions I have in any of them, zero. Play the turn and hit continue. That’s not socializing.
The Like Button, share button on websites, and the other ways to post to Facebook is not socializing. Remote interaction just turns each person into their own personal news hub on what they feel is worthy. When your users are using Facebook like that, sure your user activity is going to remain high, but if no one is going to Facebook to read what others post what’s the point? If someone makes a comment they are usually as bland as cardboard, “Nice article.”. Like counts, who cares?
Facebook needs to stop worrying about Timelines and historical postings and get back to personalization, uniqueness, individuality of the users. Look hard on why users get so upset not on the evolutionary changes to the look and feel but on what’s taken away. Why is that? Users loved it, that’s why. Take a look at the Facebook name and remember what that should mean. A face is unique, the person behind a face is more unique, yet Facebook looks about the same no matter who you are looking at.
I understand you can ‘customize’ your own profile with witty photo, so what? I don’t remember the last time I left my status feed to look at someone’s main profile page.
We are all wearing the same blue jumpsuits in the sea of faces, not unique enough for people to keep caring.
End of line.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.