Why Facebook has Jumped The Shark
Today Eastcliff Richard and I became 'friends'. I think this is a familiar expression in the world of social networking. In this instance it was on probably the most highly publicised site of recent months, Facebook. This has got me thinking a little more about a site which I once thought was pretty neat but I now avoid like Margate!
Monday, September 24, 2007
I like to think of myself as an early adopter. I certainly try to be, signing up to many new social webservices before anyone else has signed up and as such unlikely there being any point in being there. With Facebook I'd tried to sign up a couple of years ago but you needed a uni email so I couldn't. When I came to Oxford though it was just at the start of the Facebook wave so naturally I signed my name on the dotted line.
I'd spent some time in the garish environment of MySpace for a few years (the de facto social site of Thanet rock) and so enjoyed the simplicity of Facebook. It had plain white pages, minimally organised small photos, a wall, some groups and the occasional poke. It was simple and I thanked it for that.
Then at the same time as the wave of new uni kids they opened up registration to the site to anyone with an email address. Now we get all the guys who are using it at uni telling their friends back home to come join and things started to snowball. As of today Facebook is now in the top ten global Alexa ranked sites. Its still not caught Myspace but its not got much further to go and if the rate that my new friend requests come in I doubt it will be much longer.
So here is where I think the problem lies. Facebook was successful because it differed from Myspace. It did offer a more peaceful approach to social networking but now they have opened up the site to third party applications, the likes of Zombie Biters, Booze Mailers, Super Pokers and any other stupid thing you can think of. Here is where the problem of being open to anyone with an email comes in. These applications are further propagated by people who are wasting away their work day. Now when I go to a users page I struggle to find their wall for all the other trash that's littered over it. Infact, I can't even use my own inbox without having to spend half an hour clearing it of stupid invites.
Facebook may not yet have reached user saturation, but it is certainly reaching the end of its usability. It makes me wonder what site will be the next big thing, its certainly time to start looking out for it. Hopefuly people will come back to blogs and forums, at least they have some substance and in many cases proved sustainabilty.
And the heavens opened. Does the summer really have to end so abruptly?