Give Me My Facebook Back! What’s a Social Utility Anyway?

Currently the most-emailed New York Times article is ’omg my mom joined Facebook!!’ The article is a humorous recount of a Mom who, feeling disconnected from her daughter, joins Facebook (now open to everyone) only to find that her daughter isn’t exactly happy with her decision’

The article highlights an issue that became apparent to me tonight while talking with my youngest sister. A college senior who has been on with Facebook from its very beginnings, my sister shocked me tonight by announcing that she was DONE with Facebook and plans to delete her profile. ’It sucks now’ was her exact statement.

What I realized tonight is that Facebook has three worlds of users ’“ its core community of college students who made it popular, the VCs and tech people who love Facebook from a technology and investment perspective and then ’everybody else.’

The problem is that the core users like my sister don’t really care for all the new feeds, applications and 24/7 updates. We as the tech/investment community have been singing the praises of new applications, such as iLike with 486,000+ users. Guess what, that’s just a tiny fraction of the total Facebook community. Could be that the people adding these applications are not core users, but in fact the ’everyone elses’ who core users despise? YES!

Reality check. College students detest the ’everyone else crowd.’ They resent people like their parents invading their turf and who can blame them? Here we are thinking that Facebook is the next Google because people never have to leave their profile pages’ VCs are excited because maybe Facebook is the next big IPO. The new F8 platform could be the key to social media monetization. And, now that Facebook is ’open to all’ membership growth will be through the roof! MySpace lookout! Right?….

Well guess what? When you loose the core, the people who made you famous, it’s not a good sign. Facebook became popular because it was simple and its community was engaged with each other. Increasingly teh emphasis on Facebook is shifting away from interaction among people, to interaction with widgets and advertising and outsiders. I think Facebook ought to bear in mind that young people are fickle and an account can be deleted much faster than it can be created.


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