I got an Anonymous Blog comment today on one of my Blogs that caused one of those “uh-oh” moments. This unsolicited and somewhat annoying comment informed me and anyone that might read it (had I actually posted the comment, which I did not) that one can now “buy Facebook Likes”. Perhaps lots of people already knew about this, but it was news to me and a sure indication, in my mind that Facebook has already peaked and is now, so yesterday.
Why do I say that in the face (pardon the intended pun) of ongoing evidence that Facebook is still growing and may exceed 1 billion members this year? Because it is yet another indication that the “suits” have taken over. Try as they might, the Facebook crowd will not be able to stay “cool” once the really cool people find out that they are being had by people who buy “Likes” on Facebook.
There are two things that really tick off the cool people who are the advance guard of success (and the first to abandon ship on a failure or fraud) – companies (sites) that sell out (and sell them out in the process) and companies (sites) that get taken over by the suits – people who figure out how to game the system in order to get to the users with targeted ads. There certainly is an argument to be made that both have occurred with Facebook.
Why does this matter? The truth is that Facebook can coast along on momentum for a couple (maybe a few) years – gaining new members and expanding revenues by selling access to those who sign up; however, it also true that the really cool people who jumped in first are likely to jump back out first, once they figure out what is happening. These are the bleeding-edge adopters and they’ll find the “next big thing” to jump onto.
This is actually quite a natural pattern. Bleeding-edge and early adopters are always looking out for the next cool thing on the Internet or elsewhere in life. They jump onto new things early. They are often fervent supporters and make lots of noise about how great whatever it is that they’ve embraced is. Eventually the rest of us not as cool people jump on the bandwagon, because we’ve read all of these great things that were written by the bleeding edge and early adopter people and we say “I want to be cool, too.” That is when the bulk of the people who jump on anything arrive on the scene. We won’t even talk about the late adopters, who are still unsure about this whole Internet Social Media thing and haven’t jumped on a bandwagon since that got on board with mobile phones, just recently.
So, now Facebook is not about being cool and communicating with your friends. It’s about targeted ads and knowing what you “like” and trying to get you to buy what your friends buy. In other words, it’s not cool anymore because you’ve been sold out and all of the really cool people have moved on. Where did they go? Don’t ask me; I haven’t been cool since 1972. I’m still trying to figure out this Wall thingy on Facebook and have no idea why so many farmers are always asking me to buy something for their sheep. I may move on to the next big thing before I even figure this one out.