It was pretty ...
posted by Allan Shaw, Business Development Manager on 28/07/2010 10:04:10
It was pretty hard, probably nigh on ...
It was pretty hard, probably nigh on impossible, to miss the fact that Facebook has now passed the mark of 500 million users. As with anything that is a complete, runaway success, it is now time for people to start talking about the demise of this social networking giant. As someone commented on my Twitter feed this week "you don't get to 500 million users without making a few enemies!"
But is this the beginning of the end for Facebook and where does its destiny lie? Sure we have seen other social networking sites come and go with some just hanging on to survival but almost certainly in a death grip. The once mighty Habbo is now a shadow of its former self, Friends Reunited lost all its friends and the all conquering MySpace has now been reduced to a "specialist" site concentrating on the more creative element. When we look in the rear view mirror it seems that either the sites owners/operators simply ran out of talent or that a different (for different insert the word Facebook) offering came along and made their old number one choice simply an "also ran". So, just because former key offerings lost their way should we really be donning our tap shoes and heading to the Facebook grave for an almighty knees up?
The rise and rise of Facebook has seen some great information drawn out this week, particularly in light of the 500 million user mark being passed, it seems the rise in Facebook's popularity is basically down to two key elements and they are:
1. It is incredibly easy to upload photographs to the site that can be easily accessed/shared by all of your connections.
2. Groups are easy to create and join where people with the same interests can discuss, debate and exchange information about their favourite topics... even if some of the groups are as diverse as I might have joined your group if it weren't such a grammatical failure. which, somewhat surprisingly, has 202,000 members.
So if Facebook is all of these things to all of these people why are some doomsayers predicting the end of Facebook... I think that's easily answered "because it is the biggest". It's easy to knock the biggest, most dominant player in the market. Privacy concerns along with the recent appalling showing in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (where it rated 64/100 which puts it alongside airlines and cable operators) have provided enough ammunition for some journalists to start loading the gun that could end it all. Google have announced that they are in the race to build a site to rival Facebook that will offer a gaming experience http://bit.ly/bbI3r6
and have joined forces with some big names to ensure this development goes ahead. This could be great news for Facebook users as we might finally get rid of the never-ending updates as to how a friend has now either collected enough diamonds to own DeBeers or how a wannabe farmer needs your help with creating an organic field!
So is this the beginning of the end, I seriously doubt it. An interesting statistic came from Matt Rhodes at FreshMinds this week in that although Facebook now has 500 million users that means that 93% of the planet are NOT on Facebook! Some room for growth there then.
Given that Facebook are constantly reinventing themselves and adding new facilities (look out for Facebook credits, coming soon to a screen near you) I don't think the talent pool is running dry just yet.
One thing is for sure you will overlook Facebook, as part of your marketing/online/web 2.0 strategy at your peril... even if you are not connecting with 93% of the planet!
Allan Shaw - a Business Development Manager at Cobalt Sky