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Why Facebook Won't Be Uber-Network

Cory Doctorow has a very smart analysis in Information Week about why he doesn’t fear Facebook taking over the world. Quote:

Every “social networking service” has had this problem and every user I’ve spoken to has been frustrated by it. I think that’s why these services are so volatile: why we’re so willing to flee from Friendster and into MySpace’s loving arms; from MySpace to Facebook. It’s socially awkward to refuse to add someone to your friends list — but removing someone from your friend-list is practically a declaration of war. The least-awkward way to get back to a friends list with nothing but friends on it is to reboot: create a new identity on a new system and send out some invites (of course, chances are at least one of those invites will go to someone who’ll groan and wonder why we’re dumb enough to think that we’re pals).

That’s why I don’t worry about Facebook taking over the net. As more users flock to it, the chances that the person who precipitates your exodus will find you increases. Once that happens, poof, away you go — and Facebook joins SixDegrees, Friendster and their pals on the scrapheap of net.history.

2 Comments on “Why Facebook Won't Be Uber-Network”

  1. #1 Jon Garfunkel
    on Nov 29th, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    That’s the food-chain for you: Z-Listers gripe about A-Listers, and A-Listers gripe about Facebook. Irritation is the dearest form of flattery, after all.

    I’m also strangely reminded of a the opening of The People vs. Larry Flynt, in which boy moonshiner Flynt whines about somebody else cutting into his profits. (BoingBoing, Facebook, and moonshine — all competing as the great timekillers).

    Substance: Cory gripes about all social networking software assuming that friends are equal. But his fiancee already gave a solution: the technology can track how close you are to your friends by how well you keep in touch with them (whether you “dropkick” them on their SuperWall, etc.)– it can warn you if you haven’t contacted in a while. Also, Facebook may actually follow scaling constraints, which means more of a pain for masively-friended than it is for average folks on the “long tail.”

    I didn’t abandon Friendster because of too many friend requests. I stopped using it (like many others) because there was nothing to *do* there. Facebook offers stuff to do. That’s why people use it.

  2. #2 JohnofScribbleSheet
    on Nov 30th, 2007 at 5:09 am

    Thats a pretty good argument for the “faddish” nature of social networking.