The five stages of Facebook grief
The world's largest social network is about to hit 500 million. But users are losing interest. Here's why.
Computerworld - Facebook has a huge problem. No, it's not privacy, security, application spam or even horrible P.R. from the upcoming movie, "The Social Network." These are short-term annoyances for the company, but not existential threats.
Here's the real problem: Facebook's social network can't mirror the actual social networks, or social groups, that people have. Because of that, users are beginning to notice a curious effect: The more you use Facebook, the less usable it becomes.
It turns out that our feelings about Facebook aren't static. They're evolving in a way that will eventually lead many of us to quit and find something else -- or at least minimize use.
Facebook is structured on the false assumption that you have one social network. But nobody has one social group.
A nine-year-old has at least two -- parents and peers. A teenager has at least three -- add "trusted close friends." And a middle-aged adult has many: Former school-mates, former colleagues (each company is a separate peer group), non-nuclear family, nuclear family, current co-workers, close friends, etc.
While it's true that you belong to all your social groups, you're the only person in the world who does. Each other member of any group does not belong to your other groups. Sooner or later, your social groups are going to clash and you're going to get burned.
Here are three real-life examples (Names have been changed to protect the guilty):
Maria's son posts a status update: "Having a great time at the beach with the parents!" Maria's boss posts a comment: "Didn't you call in sick?"
Bill posts 30 pictures from college, and tags friends in the photos. One of those friends is Steve, who is shown drunk and vomiting in the picture that shows up on Steve's "Photos" page. Mom, dad and grandma all acquire a new perspective on the financial help they gave Steve for college.
Janet, a high school senior, posts a generic comment about her mood, saying "feeling bla today." Then Margaret, a close family friend in the same age group as Janet's parents, comments, "what's wrong, honey?" After that, several of Janet's high school friends post a series of profane, obscene or objectionable comments that humorously suggest causes or cures. Because Margaret commented, all subsequent comments flow into Margaret's Facebook News Feed.
These cases all illustrate the clash of social groups, where a member of one social group gains unnatural access to the conversation of another.
One of the most common clashes of social groups happens when the parents of young people sign up for Facebook, so common that there's a blog devoted to the catastrophe.
- Facebook launches redesign with a bit of the old, a bit of the new
- Facebook eyes solar-powered drone company
- Facebook coughs up $19B for WhatsApp's younger users
- Facebook buying WhatsApp for $16 billion
- Facebook's birthday present: A look back at your social life
- At 10, Facebook strives not to be your granny's social network
- Facebook sees apps in its future ... lots of apps
- Facebook hijacks Trending feature from rival Twitter
- Facebook to kill off one kind of ad some users hated
- Facebook uses a seasoned Chef to keep servers simmering
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Face Time Anytime Real-time communications facilitates team collaboration from nearly anywhere in the world. With facts and figures you can use to justify an investment
- Riverbed Stingray Application Firewall: Securing Cloud Applications with a Distributed Web Application Firewall Responsibility over IT security is moving away from the network and IT infrastructure and to the application and software architecture itself. IT organizations...
- Now is the time to implement a video conference solution Video conferencing is getting a lot of buzz lately due to the recent cost decrease, making it tangible for many law firms. It's...
- Video drives engagement Achieving maximum results means building a solid platform and network infrastructure. As digital age unfolds, it's clear that the ability to communicate effectively...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Web Apps White Papers | Webcasts