Social Networking Trendchasers on Safari

March 19, 2009

So assuming you might have many, many better things to do, here’s the latest newsflash from the World of Web 2.0: Facebook launched a redesign last week that no one in the user community really wanted and not surprisingly, it’s risen to become an utter fiasco. Long story short, Facebook looks more like Twitter now, which is kind of dumb because if all you wanted to do was tweet, you’d, like, go to Twitter.

Meanwhile, there’s a rising backlash/fatigue with the remarkably overexposed and over-discussed Twitter.

With Facebook, there’s a sense of betrayal from users who genuinely loved the loopy, varied functionality of the platform. With Twitter, there’s a reaction against what some see as a dumbing-down and/or trivializing of societal discourse, along with a bit of pique about the vacuous TV talking heads babbling incessantly about it.

Social media networks have lifecycles, and I’ve seen them play out before. People discover them, fall in love with them, and then one day, they move on to the next thing. I’ve seen Friendster die of neglect on the part of its ownership. I’ve seen MySpace become a garish, tacky, pushy advertising vehicle. Heck, I remember the heydays and downfalls of Usenet newsgroups (flooded with spam posts) and listservs (too navel-gazing) and forums (too much traffic, too many alpha dogs).

Has Facebook peaked? Has Twitter peaked? What’s the next big thing?

Too soon to say. But we’re keeping a jaundiced eye on it.

Posted by Joe Paone (look for me on Facebook, but only after you scroll though a gazillion gratuitous status updates)