|Hofball in Wien – Wilhelm Gause|
Amid all the uproar over Facebook’s latest redesign of the newsfeed and some possibly huge pending announcements today (disclosure: links are to CNET, I work for CNET, and all views expressed herein are completely my own), there were some… well, murmurs in my feeds about Facebook having jumped the shark. Myspace was a trending topic on Twitter for much of the day and even my mom complained about the changes.
Facebook has seen its share of blowback from customers before, but this is its first backlash moment at the time when there’s a shiny new alternate social network waiting in the wings: Google+.
I don’t know that it’s as bad as all that and it’s seriously difficult to imagine Facebook going the way of Myspace (which, by the way, isn’t dead yet), but I do think it’s still an open question whether there will ever be such a thing as a permanent social network.
My metaphor for social networks: It’s like a party.
At first you’re there because you got an invite from someone you really like, it’s just your close friends, you have a great time catching up and you have the run of the joint. Then a few more people show up, and it starts getting a little crowded, but hey, it’s still fun and you play some fun games. Then that person you barely know shows up and pretty soon that person you never really liked in high school has trapped you in a corner and is forcing politics down your throat and eventually you look around and there are so many people you can barely move.
And then your parents show up and the party is over.
Facebook may well be too big to fail and people have definitely invested a lot of time in their presence there. I can’t imagine my mom jumping over to Google+ just because the news feed changed.
At the same time, early social media explorers are already busy colonizing Google+, Tumblr, and other emerging social media platforms. There is definitely some appeal in regrouping with your closest friends and starting a new party.
At some point those friend lists that you built… well, they get messy and unwieldy, it’s awkward and time consuming to unfriend all the people you don’t really want to follow, and there’s a lot of appeal in just starting over from scratch. I’ve already done it with Friendster, then Myspace, then Facebook, and now I’m enjoying starting over yet again on Google+ (my profile is here btw).
What do you think? Are the (relative) social media veterans Facebook and Twitter here to stay or will we always be looking for a new fiesta?