Social Media: Is Facebook a Final Destination or Just Another Social Fling?
Two word - "bad economy". During the bad economy, no more "me too" ventures rise up. The survivors who had built enough clout before the crash hit will have easier time with less cut throat competition, and can scoop around smaller companies with bottom price, thus stabilize their position even more.
Amazon went through this phase after the first bubble, and became the #1 e-commerce site among zillions of "dot com bubble" companies. Google came in a bit later, but also built up their basic search technology quietly while many others are going under after the bubble burst.
Now, it is extremely hard for a new "fad" SNS to attract financing. Facebook, and for a certain extent Twitter as well, is in a good lead off position like Amazon one cycle ago. During this time, they are gaining critical mass of users and are quickly becoming a default "infrastructure" of human network.
I tend to look at Facebook and Twitter as new types of communication tools, something that adds to a variety in addition to telephone, mobile phone and e-mail, rather than "media", as are often perceived. In that regard, I believe that this bad economy era is GOOD for these "emerging communication tools" to become a next gen infra.
There are so many telephone companies in the world, yet they can talk to each other easily. That is because there are "finite" number of international carriers and they can negotiate interconnection among themselves. It is easier to come up with standard of ways of doing business among themselves. Now that we have a clear leader in SNS, with a few more competitors, it becomes much easier to form a federation and to connect among these networks and other services.
Now things are becoming more and more connected. When I write this blog, it gets published in my Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed automatically. For the blog and SNS providers, it is easier to form such loose federation, taking advantage of each specialties. Now it is also much easier for consumers to decide which services to turn to with less number of choices, and that they are connected to each other so you don't have to sign up to zillions of different services.
Isn't it a wonderful world!!?? I kinda like it. In Chinese old story, "Old man Sai(?)'s horse", a lucky incident turns out bad later, and a bad luck turns out to bring lucky result later. "Bad economy" can be a Sai's horse, at least in this SNS world.