Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Social networking hits a wall…maybe

Posted on | August 12, 2008 | No Comments


Interesting client meeting yesterday. They’re experienced in the Web 2.0 space. A CEO said flat out, “I give Facebook 24 months.”
Why? There’s no way the emerging teen generation (13 and below) embraces Facebook because that’s for the generation before them (and–yikes!!–old people are joining too and that just makes, it well, grody to the max). So that augurs well for the next shiny object, whatever that may be…. a Tagged or a Zwinky.
And it doesn’t bode well for Facebook. Recall that AOL was a fabulous network and community in the 1990s and now its… well, not. Before that, there was The Well, which has managed to hang in there.
Social networking works for the younger demos because they have the time. Adults are tip-toeing into social networking (older adults more slowly) but really have a finite amount of time to engage online because, well, they’re workers and parents. So finite time translates into fewer page clicks; fewer clicks translates into a weaker advertising story.
So expect to see more high-value, subscription sites get sticky in the next two years for people with wallets and purses, not a lot of time on their hands but an interest in connecting online.

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Comments

No Responses to “Social networking hits a wall…maybe”

  1. mclarke15
    August 12th, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

    Um… Facebook expressly forbids persons 13 and under from using the site. And they guide parents of kids 13-18 to monitor usage. Facebook is for grownups.

  2. kerrihicks
    August 12th, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

    Facebook is the first social networking service to catch on with critical mass. I can find 50+ people from my graduating class, and more daily. And all these people are using it. Those are things that AOL (nerds looking for porn) and The Well (comfortable-shoe set) never had.

    Will it catch on with the kids? I don’t think that necessarily matters. Does it need kids to survive? Nope. It’s got 20-, 30-, 40-, and even 50-somethings making it grow.

    It takes five years for a brand to really start catching on, from what I’m told. When owners and early adopters become sick to death of it is really the time that it’s just hitting mainstream. Facebook is just hitting mainstream. People are beginning to expect a place where they can check up on their old friends. That expectation isn’t going to disappear…and I don’t think Facebook is going to disappear until there’s something better that takes its place, making it worth the migration.

  3. Ryerson
    August 12th, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

    Anybody remember Excite, Lycos, Altavista and other search engines that dominated in their day?

    I think social networking is in its infancy, and all the key movers and shakers today will be gone tomorrow.

    The web is still the wild west and today’s gold town is tomorrow’s ghost town.

  4. wretch
    August 12th, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

    Oh, please. How hard is it to lie about your age to Facebook?

    I say again: so far the pattern is that when people first get online, they get real excited about all the social stuff they can do. And then after 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, they get bored and move on, either jumping to some new forum or rejoining the real world.

  5. jeff
    August 15th, 2008 @ 2:19 pm

    Influential people generally don’t like things that are too popular for very long, particularly when it comes to social venues (bars, restaurants, or social networks). How do you think fashion trends happen? It’s influential people subverting convention. When those people leave Facebook, their peers will follow.

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