Could Facebook Popularity Be Soft?

Updated Techwriter10 0 Tallied Votes 783 Views Share

I like baseball, movies, good clothes, fast cars... and you. What else you need to know?
~Johnny Depp playing John Dillinger in the movie Public Enemies

I love that quote from the movie Public Enemies . Everything you want to know about a guy in one sentence. If you think about it, Facebook knows everything about you too. It doesn't ask you for a succinct, pithy summary like Dillinger gave his would-be girl friend, but it collects that information just the same in bits and pieces, and it sells it to marketers who want to know everything about you.

Facebook has been getting a lot of press lately. Some like Michael Arrington at TechCrunch believe we have entered " The Age of Facebook " and all other technology companies should be afraid, very afraid. Others are very unhappy with Facebook for its various privacy issues including the automatic opt-in in its recent "instant personalisation feature" that shares your activities on Facebook as you move around the web.

Just today, TechCrunch reported about a bug that left private chats exposed to friends. I realize it's a bug and these things happen, but you have to place this in context of everything else that's happened recently with Facebook. I get the idea that maybe people are getting a bit fed up with Facebook, but to paraphrase a quote from another movie, An Officer and a Gentleman , 'They got no where else to go!'

Unscientific Polls

This general disaffection I've been sensing with Facebook seems to grow each week. Danny Sullivan wrote an interesting post on called Dear Facebook & Google: We Are Not Your Pawns. Enough with the Auto Opt-in . His point was clear. He was fed up with having popular services decide which features he was going to use without his permission. It got me wondering just how loyal people are to Facebook. Most people I talk to are there because their friends are there. I don't think many Facebook users are particularly fond of the service itself. It's just a means to an end.

I decided to put the question out there and find out. Now, I'm not a pollster, but I created the following question and posted it on my blog :

If there were a credible Facebook Alternative, would you be inclined to switch?

I offered four choices for responses:
Hell ya, in a heartbeat.
No way, I like Facebook the way it is.
Only if I could import my Facebook friends.
Only if my friends switched too.
You can read my initial results here , but the overwhelming choice with 182 responses or 63 percent of the vote, was the first one: Hell ya. Only 10 people or 3 percent chose the second answer: No way.

Barely Scratching the Surface

Now before you start leaving nasty comments, let me be the first to admit that this isn't scientific and it represents literally a drop in the bucket of Facebook users. Facebook's own statistics page claims more than 400 million users. I got 287 responses. I get it. But a whopping 63 percent of those who responded said given an alternative, they would gladly switch.

Perhaps it says more about the people who answered my question than it does about Facebook popularity, but if this is even a tiny inkling of how users feel about Facebook, I don't think other technology companies have much to fear about Facebook, but Facebook sure does.

Photo by daveynin on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

DavidAKnopf 0 Newbie Poster
Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

That same effect, David, could very well play out on another service. Just look at Friendster and My Space.


DavidAKnopf 0 Newbie Poster

If you think that's likely, I think you're crazy. :)

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

If you consider that My Space was *the* place to be a few years ago and Facebook was nothing, I do believe it could happen. Facebook alienates its users and takes them for granted. This is not an algorithm like Google. It's not actually all that complex from a programming perspective to create an open source-transparent alternative. I will grant you that it will take a major momentum shift, but no, I do not think it's crazy, and yes, I do believe it's possible if the right circumstances came together.


Nemie Asis 0 Newbie Poster

I think it is possible to happen. All good things must come to an end.(don't get me wrong I'm a Facebook user):)

michael-101 0 Newbie Poster

Yeah, I have to agree with Nemie Asis, All good thing will get to an end, and... Hello everybody I'm a newbie in this forum

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

Welcome Michael. Thanks for the comment.


joelchrist -9 Posting Whiz

I dont think, that it would happen with facebook.

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