Between Twitter, MySpace, Friendster, and Google+, social networking sites are far from a new concept. That being said, what is the likelihood that any of the above mentioned sites would ever hold a candle to Facebook?
For the better part of the past decade, site after site has tried to become the go-to destination for social media – both in terms of sharing and discovering. Two of the sites I listed above have already lost the social networking race (Friendster and, when all is said and done, MySpace), and it looks as though Google+ might find itself eating Facebook’s digital dust. So the question must now be asked: What have these past sites done wrong, and what do they need to do in order to offer Facebook a fair challenge?
Join me as I examine the keys to Facebook’s success, and discover why more sites should be stealing from them. Hey, it’s only fair; Facebook stole its groundwork first.
MySpace tried this in a sense, but they relied too heavily on making their users spread events by word of mouth via posts that could easily get lost on the site’s sidebar. If a MySpace user wanted to share an event, he/she had to write out a post, send it to their post feed, and hope the message didn’t get buried under the myriad of posts their friends were making at the same time. Poor form, as once the post is out of sight it is forever out of mind.
Google+, as of checking mine for the first time in nine months, does not seem to have this kind of option. If it does it’s well hidden from its users, and may as well not exist at all. I couldn’t find a way to share an event, so I will just assume this is something they lack.
Facebook’s team of designers and programmers understand that a huge part of social networking is sharing events. Whether you’re attending a concert, a lecture/seminar, or are hosting an event, you want people you know to join you. What’s simpler than creating an event, automatically sending it to every one on your friends list, and never thinking twice about it? As a bonus, once a friend receives the invite it stays on his/her homepage until the event expires.
If social networking sites want to compete with FB, they had better start adding the ability to mass-invite friends and peers to events. It’s a no brainer.
Oddly enough, FB used to offer its services to a very select group of college students. Even more odd is the fact that this tactic is what first led to its explosion in popularity. Wait, as the story gets even stranger. To keep from becoming irrelevant the company opened its e-doors to the public not long after its inception. What pleased a select group in the beginning (the exclusivity of the site) would have meant death had the site not had a change of heart.
Facebook provides an online community that offers something for every member of the human family. Regardless of age, creed, race, or lifestyle, FB has a hook for literally every one who owns a computer. Better yet, it gives people avenues to congregate over practically any interest out there. What follows is a superb digital water cooler where friends and strangers can network over a common bond.
Sites like MySpace and Friendster focused too squarely on a particular cross-section of their potential users for too long (kids and students, respectively), and from that point on they were dead in the water. Even Google+ is taking this idea too far, limiting its users to only those with gmail.com accounts, and limiting initial sign-ups to those who were invited by a friend who participated in the beta testing.
The next big social networking site needs to make inclusivity their highest priority, and they need to provide outlets and activities for every potential user out there.
Leave Celebrity Tweeting to Twitter
This one is aimed primarily at Google+, as well as any site that plans to follow in its footsteps. Social Networking is really only useful when you’re connecting with people that can feasibly interact with you. While tweets from celebrities might be entertaining or insightful (rarely the latter), there’s no real communication going on. Even if you tweet to a person, they’re likely not going to respond to you.
Think about it: Do you think Ashton Kutcher is going to personally respond to every one of his fans’ tweets?
Google+ took this concept of following celebrities to an absurd degree. They introduced “circles”, and allow their users to follow famous personalities as if they are actual members of an entourage. While Facebook has a similar feature (subscriptions), they don’t market it as a means to interact with elite members of society on a personal level.
Granted, both sites allow for tweeters to share their tweets on-site… but Facebook can get away with this because people want to use it. Google+ hasn’t inspired that sort of confidence in the average social networker, and it looks more and more doubtful that they will any time soon.
AS you can see, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done for whoever tries to challenge Facebook next. As it stands right now, no one’s really got it figured out. Perhaps someday some one will.
What do you think? Is Facebook riding for a fall, or is it bound to continue its reign as Social Networking Champion? Share your thoughts below!
Author Bio:- Jordan Siron is a freelance writer living in Florida. When he isn’t writing he advertises online sell sheet printing services.