The internet is currently flooded with articles, blog posts, and tweets about social networking. You have to be living in a 3rd world country to have not heard of MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on and on… The buzz of internet marketing has caught on faster than anyone would have predicted. The question we now ask is will this hype last or is it just a fad? Let’s take a look at the founding father of the social networking scene and analyze their success. We are talking of course about Facebook.
How it Started
Facebook was started with the intention of connecting college students from all areas to keep in touch with old friends. Members used to be exclusively college students based on whether their school allowed it. If we look back only a generation ago, people used to go off to college and not have contact with their old high school friends until coming back for thanksgiving, Christmas break, or summer vacation. Remember that it was a time when nobody had cell phones or email and communication was a lot different.
Enter Facebook, a tool that allowed you to keep in touch with your childhood friends, teammates, and peers. You could see pictures of them, send messages, and learn about their new interests. It also allowed you to connect with people that you otherwise would not have had more than the casual greeting with. The classmates that you may not have associated with, you could now get to know a little better through a comfortable online atmosphere.
In the early days Facebook was THE HYPE, very similar to the current seen of Twitter. It was a new tool that solved a communication barrier and hit a significant tipping point.
Why it is Still Successful
It is interesting to step back and consider why Facebook has not died off and lost users interest. Here are three good reasons for its lasting internet footprint:
1) Like any successful business Facebook has been able to adapt to the latest trends in online communication before they have reached their maturity. During the boom of YouTube in 06-07, Facebook saw the need to incorporate video as a resource for sharing. The current Facebook design is based around the success of Twitter and the idea of “status updates.” This adaptation and foresight has been the single largest factor into the current success and user growth.
2) Over the years Facebook has taken on new internet applications that have enhanced the user experience. An open source framework has allowed programmers to create applications and content that the company itself had not thought of.
3) It is also important to consider the multiple site re-designs that have taken place. Each re-design causes users to complain and “demand the old Facebook back” due to the new training that must occur. This however has been one of the strongest attributes to the sites longevity. Users do not get board, there is always new content provided by people they know and in various formats.
Will it Last?
The question is now whether or not Facebook and other social networking sites can maintain and continue to redefine content presentation, user experience, and future trends. Only time will tell…