MySpace! No, Wait, Twitter! No, Wait, Second Life! No, Wait, Facebook!
Is it just me or is anyone else sick of the lemming-like flash mob behavior marketers display every time some "really cool" new thing comes along? It's like a shiny new object syndrome. We can't keep our hands off the new toys.
The industry's latest fascination is Facebook. That followed quick blips from Twitter (which actually a good thing) and Second Life (not so much a good thing...for marketers, at least). I joined Facebook almost a year ago or some time after it opened to non-students. Why? For the same reason I joined MySpace. It was there. People were using it and I figured I ought to check it out. For months, Facebook was a ghost town for me. After all, I'm not in college any more. Then, like the unleashing of a pent up orgasm, people spewed forth from every known corner of the ad industry friending me.
I graciously accepted the friend requests because, like a free drink at an ad conference, who am I to say no? And, besides, I know these people. Soon, when it became the rage, my profile page filled up with all sorts of applications, most of which I never use. Some of which I do. In fact, I created two of my own to publish video and photos from the AdGabber site.
Don't get me wrong. I do like Facebook. It makes MySpace look like a Geocities page for kindergartners. I just wonder how long before the friend requests cease, the profile pages get stale, the newsfeeds slow and the place turns into a dormant Friendster page.
There are four teenagers who live in my house during the summer and work at a nearby camp and they, the two in college more so than the two in high school, were basically horrified when Facebook opened up its gates and let anyone in. For a short period of time, it was there place to play. A place they could go where they'd pretty much be guaranteed the people there would have a lot in common with them. Without middle aged morons trying to hook up with them.
Of course, Facebook's creators knew they were sitting on a goldmine and marketers new, as they did with MySpace, there was no way they were going to be left out of this party. The revenue possibilities were impossible to ignore.
Now, perhaps, this is a callous viewpoint because I have heard wonderful things from Facebook users who are also marketers who've set up Facebook groups to better connect with the people with whom they wish to connect. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I've found some great use inside Facebook and have connected with people I wouldn't otherwise have.
Again, I just wonder when Facebook will lose its luster, the fickle nature of marketers sets in and we all start salivating over the next new shiny object.