Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Will the "Facebook era" end?

First; as a person I'm allergic to too hyped trends. That's why I try to not blow up things in general because it is a fact that when something gets to hyped and trendy it will fall down sooner than later. Important is that if you develop and exceed the user experience you might continue to attract the market for a longer time, but you have an EOL of products and services. Sometime you have to release a completely new product or your company will EOL… (see my earlier blog post The nib and the ballpoint) Here is some example on short and long EOL:

- Music and movie really can't be re-launched with new features etc. so it will be a hit for a short time. Music re-mixes isn't really a "new feature". After that you have to come up with a new song or movie. And you have no chance to bug fix after release.

- Cars can be a long time hit because cars have long life cycles and can be re-developed, but still; sooner or later a new model has to be launched. And you definitely compete with other brands. You have the possibility to bug fix, but probably because of really bad and unhealthy user feedback… So bugs will hurt your business badly.

- An IT product has to be developed all the time and normally have short EOL in its specific version. You can release a buggy version…it’s in some way ok… (weird). The product “model” can last quite long. Good example is Windows XP.

Have this cycle in mind; early adaptor individuals adopt new product > more individuals do > early adaptor companies do > more companies do > early adaptor individuals move to new product > more individuals move to new product.... and so on.

A company who is good at developing their product is Facebook. The product Facebook is more than a product, it’s a lifestyle too. I'm not a regular user of Facebook and not a freaky fan of it (maybe because I'm "old") but I do mean Facebook is a big success, phenomena and a milestone in the history, not just in the IT history. But as I mentioned products do have EOL sometime, even if they are more than a product because peoples mind changes, especially the young ones. I think Facebook have run out of good ideas in its current model (Note! Not version). They are struggling and act more and more like the Big Brother. But I’m too novice to tell when it might EOL.

To me Facebook is a tool developed by young driven people and is used by primarily three types of users:

- Young people who see it like a natural way to socialize with friends, work etc.

- "Old" people who try to make money out of it. With this I mean companies and innovators who say Facebook is the future for business. I think they’re only struggling to make money out of it acting like "wiseguys". Sorry, but I do.

- "Old" people who is struggling to find a way to socialize, but they don't do it as natural as it is for the young ones.

Since the young people use it like a natural way they most likely will feel it's natural to use another tool to socialize. And when you lose the young ones what will then happen to Facebook?

Therefor; I'm interested in how long the Facebook-phenomena will last and have a couple of questions I would love to have comments about. Note! I don’t want to discuss the general social media, it will continue in some way, this time I’m focused on Facebook as the leading socializer tool.

The questions;

- Who are the real competitors to Facebook? Will they succeed and how will they act to succeed?

- Will there be private Facebook clouds or will you not trust Facebook and others or maybe; don’t you care at all?

- Will people stop to "socialize" their private life in the future? Is it people’s mind who is the real competitor to Facebook?

- Will Facebook be more of a professional than a private thing in the future? And if a pro thing; will it survive then?

- Will all big software providers accept Facebook as a portal for their services and products?

- Will Facebook start to charge users?

- Will the "Facebook era" end? And if so; when?

How about Microsoft Windows and Office, they have been around for a couple of years now? I’m sure they will EOL sometime. But there are two big differences; they are, in the main versions, developed for business use and they are not free. Though the biggest difference is, and it’s based on the business track; they have never been hyped trends, successes and dominators but not hyped trends. The “more companies”, where the money is, seldom goes for hyped trends.

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