Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Why Social Networking Is So Successful And Why I've Grown Sick Of It

The other day I asked myself why social networking has become such a phenomenal success and the answer became quite clear to me. Its all ego-driven. If you disagree with me then consider this. How fun would Facebook, Blogspot, YouTube or any other social networking site be if nobody gave your page any attention; kind of like my page right now? Hahaha. I'm not begging the question either. I think the question answers itself.

The issue I find with Web 2.0 sites whose entire platform is strictly based on social networking such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and others is that there are very few barriers to entry if none at all. I can say this with conviction because two other colleagues and I made one in less than 6 months! Granted it wasn't exactly successful because I failed to lead my team with the proper focus, strategy and execution. I think it also helps to have the financial backing like Facebook's Zuckerberg probably did being a Harvard student. Nevertheless, social networking can be replicated quite easily. There isn't any major initial cost or overhead to getting started either as opposed to say trying to develop an iPhone killer.

Let me revisit the history of social networking to further my argument. First of all, it was Friendster that created a such an enormous buzz they amassed a cult following in a short time frame. Now if you're going to have a problem when starting a dot com, then that's definitely a good one to have right? Normally I would say yes, but in Friendster's case the exponential growth of user traffic overwhelmed their infrastructure degrading performance so badly they needed IT Viagra. MySpace superseded by capitalizing on their performance issues while catering to artists, musicians and trendies. However MySpace's major mistake was pimping out the entire site with advertisements where ever and whenever possible. After a while, it seemed like MySpace was no longer "A Place For Friends" but merely "A Place For Ads" or "A Place For Spam". Maybe that's why MySpace removed that slogan because they knew the site was no longer a place for friends but just an advertising whore house. Sounds like something NewsCorp would do. A couple of years later, Facebook would dethrone MySpace from its long uncontested reign as king. They were intelligent enough to focus on enhancing the overall social networking experience by not shoving ads down my throat. But sure enough a new player by the name of Twitter entered the market and is now a formidable contender to Facebook.

So with all these one-of-a-kind social networking sites out there, which one do I choose from? I hate to admit it but Facebook has done the best job since Friendster so far, but guess what? I'm already getting sick of it too. As I already mentioned earlier its all ego-driven, and frankly a handful probably sincerely give a shit about my life and how well or horrible I'm doing compared to you. For instance, how many of you have started using the "See less about [User XYZ]" feature on your Wall so you don't get obliterated with everyone else's status BS updates?? I sure have!!

In addition, how many of you have all these so-called "friends" that you actually keep in contact with enough for the both of you to even consider each other as friends? If you were to send them a personal message, would they even respond? I can honestly say with confidence, "Not many." Maybe its just a reflection of my character. Maybe I'm not proactive enough in maintaining relationships with all plus or minus 200 friends I have. Or. . . maybe its because after a while, nobody really gives a shit and we move onto the next trendy site to feed our insatiable egos. That'll probably explain why I rarely log on, update my status, upload new photos or message people like I used to. Besides a few outliers here and there nobody cares 'cause I ain't doing shit.

My words may sound a bit harsh with punctuated hints of cynicism but the point I'm trying to make is quite simple. Instead of just connecting me with people who would probably never try to contact me except to fulfill their curiosity how I've changed, why not provide real purpose services such as LinkedIn, YouTube and Blogspot. I understand the underpinning idea of the network is the same, but its their focus and service offering that makes them distinct and quite useful. One helps me land a job. One helps me learn, laugh, sing and dance. And one helps me practice writing by lauding, lamenting and lambasting about the things I encounter like social networking sites.


  1. I hear ya. I was dragged into creating a MySpace account a few years ago. Now none of my friends are on there anymore. I should close it down.

    Then they were all bugging me to join Facebook. I said F-that. Now my friends are getting bored of Facebook. Most of them spend the majority of their time on iPhones now. I think eventually people will become savvy enough to create their own sites and blogs. That's the best way to have complete control over the format and content. I always thought that was the original intent of MySpace. An easy way for everyone to have their own personal web presence.

    Eventually people will move on to different sites, but the need to have an online place for yourself will always be there. Wait till this generation grows older. Then there will be obituary sites. An online shire for the dead. It's already beginning with

  2. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. LoL. This would actually be quite useful in researching your past. Pretty soon you could have your entire family tree up online for generations to come. See how your ancestor may have been friends with someone famous.

  3. I agree. and on a less narcissistic note, check this shit out MOFOS

    its about becoming vegan to escape climate change.cos whilst we bitch about asian equality and all that, without a planet to exist on, there aint gonna be much left to blog /social medialise about


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