Facebook is the next AOL.
AOL was big, became a giant, and then was the supreme ruler of all things media.
You know, AOL, they used to sell dial-up by the minute, you may have heard of them.
Their latest acquisition was The Huffington Post for $315 million.
Ringing any bells?
If you think back to the days of 14.4kbps modems, you may remember that AOL was America On-Line. You can see they really lacked a global vision at their inception. My how they’ve grown up …
America On-Line was about selling a simple dial-up service with a “special” walled-garden type of internet service. They brought all the popular internet services and built it into one slick package. Instant messaging, photo sharing, email, news, weather and security tools.
All that success. All that buzz. Then …
America On-Line died.
Sure, it’s this multi-million dollar corporation now, but they’re certainly no longer in the business of selling dial-up.
It too, will die.
This is the future …
Remember Facebook? It was a website … do they still have a website? Anyway, we used to put our photos there and tell all of our friends what we were having for breakfast … I had a farm once, too … good times.
Go ahead. Call me crazy.
Remember AOL Keywords?
Right there at the bottom. They would use them on television commercials, too. UPS commercials used to crack me up:
Visit us online at http://www.ups.com … or AOL Keyword: UPS.
Ya. They used to say the “http”, part. Those were the days …
So, now that I’ve totally revealed that I’m just an old guy with a keyboard, let’s carry on.
I’m not saying Facebook is going away. By no means is Facebook the next GeoCities. Facebook has left its cultural mark and its effects will be felt for a long, long time, but the Facebook we know today will die.
Cause of death: Popularity.
An ironic death, for sure.
Facebook was launched on exclusivity, and has now become the largest social network in the world with 500 million users.
Through its evolution, it has done well to shift and change and keep things fresh. They’ve gone from rigid status updates that was a center-piece of Facebook, to no status updates. They’ve added gaming, chat, email, and have engaged in talks with Skype. It has become a one-stop internet destination.
Facebook Keyword: AOL.
The social scheme of Facebook is breaking. Let’s not waste words:
I don’t want to hang-out with my friends while my Mom in the room.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mom, but Facebook has gone from hanging-out at your friends house to walking around Walmart. No matter what you do, you can never feel cool at Walmart. Facebook was a private social network, now it is a public social network. Moreover, keeping up with 100-1000 friends is far from personal.
Now, I understand Facebook has different user levels and privacy settings, but eventually your Aunt Jane is going to be bugging you at Thanksgiving about “why you won’t let her see any of your photos and friends.” Why? Because your Aunt Jane lives on Facebook. There’s no hiding behind the tech anymore, she knows how it works.
Up and coming social network tools like Yammer offer what Facebook lost. A place where you can be yourself, network with friends, and not worry about having to unfriend Aunt Jane. LinkedIn does the same thing, but for work. Social networking is becoming segmented, because our lives are segmented. There are even social network apps for churches.
Facebook is the next America On-Line.
It’s too big to become what it once was. It will continue to evolve and be available, just as AOL is still available to download, but it will not have the force that it has, today. It’s impression has been great, but its momentum will depart.
Social networking will remain, but Facebook will die.