Fads of the moment: 10 things we can learn from Facebook

Okay, so for the digerati, Facebook, pownce, twitter and many more are the flavors of the moment. Fads, as Rubel says (and he’s partially right.) .
But what does our interest in these particular services tell us about ourselves, right now?
Some thoughts:
1. We want to be local, not global. Small is beautiful, and a digital backfence like Facebook’s status updates or twitter, has irresistible appeal.
2. Local is a state of mind. My new best friend, who I met in December, lives in New York; most of our friendship is bites and bytes, but she’s my can I borrow a cup of sugar/do I look fat in the dress pal. (In other words, tech powers connections–powerfully.)
3. Reality TV is us. Who needs Survivor? The relationship status changes on FB have their own small drama–and are the equivalent of telling the town crier you’re now married/separated or whatever.–And this is true for many social nets.
4. EM Foster wasn’t the only one who yearned to “Only connect.” Everyone with 530 friends on any social network is demonstrating both a yearning for community and their talent for getting a sash full of Boy Scout (or Girl Scout) merit badges.
5. It’s all about the people, still, not about the brands. The fickleness and the endurance of switching costs suggest, that no matter what guys who like to gather for dinner chat and then name names and blog about it afterward say a universal ID isn’t yet mandatory–too many people are still discovering the thrill of digital identity sharing via FB, twitter, flickr and so on.
6. People are learning their own power. PopSugar, FM, and other ad networks were first, but niche and community ad networks will abound–and the bloggers and creators will drive the terms once the first wave passes…communities (and content) that can’t be commoditized have high value–and people are seeing that.
7. Forget Starbucks, the third place is digital. Got 5 minutes? Need a break? That place you like to go is probably right on your screen.
8. Passive versus active still matters–but you can drive behavior. Remember those rules about people who watched TV rather than posted in online forums? It’s still that case that most people are reluctant to write, slow to put themselves out there, and cautious about privacy and sharing. BUT–smart networks like FB model behavior and get that lagging 80% to do more that they ever did before, raising the bar on all network/community activity.
9. Stories rule. Aren’t celebrities royalty? And don’t we all love their fairy tales? And aren’t we all busy creating a few of our own? No, more than a few….with magic tools.
10. Technology teaches possibility. It’s true that Facebook is a fad, as are the other hot sites of the moment–but it’s also true that the big rush onto Facebook tells us more about what users want–and about how particular behaviors, once established, seek to find a home. Create that home, power that home, and babe, you win.

Bonus point: Having fun now? Wait till it all truly moves to your phone aka hand-held device.

Latest Comments

  1. Patty says:

    Spot on! and always insightful. I linked to this from my Vox blog and forwarded to a few clients this morning.

  2. Martin says:

    Very nice Susan, I particularly liked 2, 7 and 8.
    Martin

  3. Barbara Rozgonyi says:

    Susan ~
    Great list and I love the wrap up:
    Create that home, power that home, and babe, you win.
    Hope to meet you at BlogHer next weekend.

  4. mistersquid says:

    Congratulations. You’ve written one of the most blatherful and meaningless posts I’ve encountered in some time, one full of uncritical self-absorption and pandering to think-nothings and think-alikes (e.g. Patty above).
    You’re elbow deep in Web 2.0 and your fascination (as detailed here) is with the mere welter of social networking.
    Don’t take this too personally. I’m just raining on your parade because I’m crotchety. If you really want to wince, come back and read your entry in a year from now. Heck, even a month might turn the trick.

  5. Chris Heuer says:

    Ah the joys of blogebrity…
    Susan, I agree with everything except the point about Facebook being a fad – I think they have an opportunity at longevity. Sure, many of the tech enthusiasts and early adopters will shift their focus to the next shiny object by the end of summer, FaceBook could screw things up royally and lose their leading position, but they have the potential to stay. They have the potential to roll up into the early majority and become the platform for our connections.
    The apps integration is only the first step in openness – as a result, they have some market lead relative to other large scale network platforms. I may be wrong, but I find them grabbing more and more of my time in the same way that it probably did for college students in the early days. Why, because it is doing things digitally that I do in the real world everyday, the UI is generally smooth (even with the crappy apps that break regularly) and the people I know and care about are all using it too…
    Anyhoo, looking forward to seeing you very very soon.

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