Tag Archive for: Facebook

For those of you who don’t know (have you been living under a rock?), Facebook is slowly debuting the Timeline to its 800+ million users. Currently, this update is available for those who opt in, but it’s rolling out to replace the Facebook profile we’ve all come to know, love, and obsessively study.

As much as jobs folks like me like to think Facebook users automatically think about their careers when Zuckerberg rolls out a new feature, I’ll admit that it’s not the case. So, I’m here to say the new Timeline profile format has made Facebook more job-search friendly than ever. After all, it’s a resume. That’s right. When you stop and look at it, Facebook’s Timeline is effectively a resume. From the giant cover image at the top to the chronological organization down the line, your Facebook profile is a resume for your life, not just your career.

What Does This Mean?

In recent years, it’s pretty common knowledge that an increasing number of employers are turning to the likes of Google and social media to learn more about applicants and current employees. Once Timeline goes 100% live, expect this number to explode.

Until now, the Facebook profile has provided a current slice of a user’s life. If you want to get into the nitty-gritty details or look a week, month, or year into the past, it takes some searching and clicking. With Timeline, employers can learn more about users by searching specific time frames and seeing how the details mesh together.

Ultimately, Facebook is going to become the go-to site for more curious employers and clients. Personalized and manicured Timelines are simply going to be more attractive.

How Can I Use This To My Advantage?

Don’t spaz. Fortunately, the Timeline makes presentation easy for those of use who aren’t as Facebook-savvy as we’d like. Privacy settings will remain the same, posts will fall into place, and you’ll find that mixed media fits into a pretty snazzy arrangement.

​Check the locks. It’s true that no privacy settings are going to be changed. However, those dorky status updates you wrote in 2006 are going to be a whole lot more accessible on your Timeline. Facebook gives you seven days to review the new format before your Timeline goes live, so do your due diligence now.

Pick your crowd. Along with overall privacy settings, your Timeline is going to work a whole lot better if you refine your audiences. Organize your business contacts into a list so that they’re the only ones who can see your industry-specific content. Personalizing your profile to fit the crowd will make your Timeline look so much better.

Facebook Timeline is your digital resume

Customize. One of the most striking differences you’ll find in the Facebook Timeline would have to be the cover photo. It’s smack dab at the top of your profile, so make it nice. Pick something that works for everyone who could possibly see your profile. You already know that picture from the New Year’s party isn’t going to work.

Prioritize. If you’re an active user, then all your content isn’t going to fit on your Timeline. While Facebook automatically guesses what content is important enough to be expanded, it could definitely use your input. Expand the information you think is important so that it can be seen by the right people.

Do you think the Timeline is similar to a resume? How else can it be used in the job search? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Google has decided to breathe down Facebook’s neck with a new social network that looks an awful lot like Facebook, only with a plus sign attached. Soon we’ll see a Google+ version of Facebook’s wildly popular product pages, even though Google’s group product manager, Christian Oestlien, announced today that it would temporarily be shutting down non-user profiles, while opening up a beta program for those who apply.

Before we can predict Google’s upcoming “public” version of product pages, we need to acknowledge the differences between Facebook and Google’s strategy. Even though Google presented the world with a product that is 97% similar to Facebook’s product, it is attempting to differentiate itself by fulfilling a real need in the social world — the need to divide your friends into different groups, just like in real life.

Google is attempting to distance itself from Facebook by mainly creating “circles” that allow you to divide the people you know into groups and share individually targeted content. This might seem like a small difference, but in the social world, a slight change in delivery can completely affect the nature of the interaction. For example, Facebook requires that you accept every friend, but Twitter makes it a bit easier for people out of your network to follow your newsfeed — creating a more “open” environment.

All of our clients at FanGager, including global organizations like American Express and Microsoft, are looking for methods to target specific audiences on social networks — like posting wall messages for women only. My assumption is that Google will attempt to capitalize on this void, and apply the notion of building individual audiences to its version of pages. This will allow page owners to communicate with different groups through one main page.

So, according to this logic, the products page will only look similar to personal profiles when logging in. Perhaps in addition to asking what circle they want to join, surfers will also be asked if they wish to join circles based on a specific category — such as those looking for discounts, for brand fans or for fans of the brand’s spokesperson. This way, they can choose the value they get personally when visiting the page.

The next stage will be combining all of Google’s unique abilities into a section of the product pages, such as its map services and the business services basket. This may include the unique features of Google Analytics, which could feature not only the page’s results, but more importantly, the movement from the Google+ page to the website; linking the visitor’s social engagement with sales and other ROI goals.

So, who wins and who loses when Google+ launches its own version of Facebook product pages?

Short-term loser: brands First of all, Google+ shut down any brand pages already created and is now controlling access to a beta program that will be great for brands that get in early like Ford and MTV but bad for everyone else. It creates a period of uncertainty for brands, as well as another platform they need to be concerned about.

But on the plus side, this delay will give brands some time to get used to the platform and start developing a strategy. Brands will still have to train its social media managers and focus resources that may already be taxed by other social sites for the new marketing platform. But, for now, brands can figure out how, and if they should, create messaging that will be consistent across all its social networks, along with the daunting task of managing more fans.

In the long term, brands could be the overall biggest winner of the targeted “circle” trend. If all moves forward as it should, and other sites catch up to the trend, brands will be able to develop more individualized messaging that will meet specific ROI goals — i.e. sales, website traffic, etc.

Immediate winner: fans and customers Once the pages are officially launched, fans will be able to create their own experience and conversations with brands. So, instead of receiving “white noise” from product pages, they will potentially receive what is only relevant to their individual interests. This can include information on specific discount promotions, customer queries on individual products or issues and other unique requests. Basically, they will now have the ability to get what they really want out of the brands they follow.

Facebook The social network will do what it always does — pressure itself to be better. (As shown by yesterday’s new product rollouts.) Expect it to continue to expand its product pages with new applications and services. Sure, it’ll probably add similar Google services (its only fair), like more advanced data analytics and targeted fan engagement activities. But I don’t think Facebook is worried, yet, due to its current social dominance.

Facebook Launches the Subscribe Button

This past week, Facebook launched a subscribe button, which allows you to choose on a user by user basis “whether you’d like to see all updates, most updates, or just important updates from another user.” It also allows you to open up your profile to subscribers who are not your friends on Facebook. 

By opening up more of its content to the public, Facebook is increasing your content’s chances of showing up in search engine results. Facebook’s subscribe option also allows individuals to grow their following and determine which content they want to make viewable to certain groups of friends or subscribers. 

Marketing Takeaway: When publishing content in social networks, make sure you are making it publicly available. This will enable your content to reach a much broader audience beyond your direct network, extending its reach. In addition, be sure you’re optimizing your social media posts and updates with appropriate keywords for your business to help it get found by searchers. This will increase the impact your social media posts have on organic search traffic to your website.

Twitter Announces Twitter Web Analytics

Twitter announced last week that it will be releasing its own official Twitter Web Analytics tool. The aim of the tools is to help “website owners understand how much traffic they generate from Twitter as well as the effectiveness of Twitter integrations on their websites.” It will allow marketers to determine:

  • How much of their website content is being shared on Twitter.
  • How much web traffic Twitter generates for their website.
  • How effective their Tweet Button integration is.

As an inbound marketer, measuring your various marketing efforts is an important element of success. Understanding what is working and what isn’t allows you to focus your energy and limited time where it can impact your business the most. 

Marketing Takeaway: Always be on the lookout for new ways to measure, and gain a solid understanding, about your marketing efforts. If you don’t already have integrated marketing analytics software that offers these types of analytics, consider one. Analyzing your marketing programs and understanding where your traffic and leads are coming from can help you improve your campaigns, do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t.

Facebook offers a great opportunity to engage your prospects with its business pages. From videos to photos to questions, there are many different features within Facebook pages that allow you to appeal to every type of user. But how can you keep the content you post on your Facebook page fresh? If you want to get your community to engage, you constantly need to offer something valuable and new.

Here are 25 ideas to liven up the content you share on your Facebook page and make your fans excited to check your page often for updates.

Posting Statuses on Your Wall

1. Don’t automate Twitter updates to your Facebook page. They are different platforms, so treat them differently.

2. Tag other pages in your status updates for increased engagement and cross-promotion.

3. Reply to users’ comments and “likes” on your status updates. The more engagement, the more likely your post will make it to your community members’ news feeds.

4. Invite a guest host to participate. Ask a celebrity, influencer, or company executive take over your Facebook page for an hour or a whole day to interact directly with community members and answer their questions.

5. Ask for your community’s opinion. Take a question that was asked somewhere else (e.g. on your blog, Twitter, etc.), and pose that question to your Facebook audience.

6. Ask for your community’s ideas. Ask them what they would like to see in your next blog post, ebook, webinar, advertisement, event, etc.

7. Tell the first part of a joke, and let your community finish it. (Example: “Why did the chicken cross the road?….”)

8. Tell a riddle.

9. Ask a hypothetical question. (Example: “Would you rather ____?” “If you could _____…”)

10. Share links to your blog posts on your wall, and use the status update field to pull out one key fact, statistic, or tip from the post as “teaser.”

11. Share a link to your weekly or monthly newsletter. Create a custom tab for signing up for an email newsletter with a tool like ShortStack. Make sure to keep the sign-up form directly within the Facebook tab to generate higher conversion rates.

12. Share information about your company: news coverage, job openings, promotions, and milestones. Use numbers, as they tend to stand out to people.


13. Tag real people in photos you post. Their friends will see those photos, and it will drive a new audience to your page.

14. Post a mystery photo. In the comments, ask people to guess the mystery person, the secret object, or the location.

15. Host a caption contest. Get people to write the best caption for your photo.

16. Share pictures from a local meetup, event, or conference.

17. Did you interview an industry expert for your blog? Post pictures of the interview in action on Facebook to offer your fans a “behind the scenes” glimpse.

18. Post pictures from a conference.

19. Post pictures of your product. Use the captions for descriptions. (Example: recipes, styles tips, an update about a new feature, etc.)

20. Compare and contrast two products in a photo. Prompt your community to add their thoughts in the comments.

21. If you share an infographic or image on your blog, share just that image on your Facebook page and link to the post on your page as a “teaser.”

22. Use the top photo strip of your Facebook page in a creative way. Spell out a word for a particular campaign, make a cartoon by connecting the images, or show unique headshots of employees.


23. Celebrate holidays. Post a status update wishing everyone a happy ______. Use the demographics information in Facebook Insights to learn about what regions are represented in your community.

24. Use the % Feedback metric in Facebook Insights to see which status updates generate the highest %. Replicate that type of content, as this is the kind of content with the highest engagement and best value for news feed optimization.

25. Add UTM codes to the links you share on Facebook to track traffic sent from your Facebook page to your website.

When communicating with your target audience, it’s important to understand where most people will see and hear your messages as well as where they want to see and hear them. As part of your targeting tactics, you should look beyond where your audience can hear from you and think more about how they prefer to interact with you. As an example, the majority of your target market may be on Twitter, but they may actually prefer to interact with you through Facebook. And if you know how your audience wants to communicate, you’ll be more successful engaging them in a two-way conversation.

This year Edison Research and Arbitron found that, according to US social network users who follow a company/brand in social media, 80% of respondents preferred to connect with brands through Facebook. This is a powerful statistic to consider when you’re creating your social media marketing strategy. Not only does Facebook attract the masses with over 750 million users, it is also how users want to connect with brands. As a marketer, you can be assured that you’ll reach a large and receptive audience through Facebook.

To ensure you’re getting the most out of your marketing on Facebook, follow these 3 steps to better leverage Facebook for business.

1. Share Your Content

Be active on Facebook by sharing various types of content to engage your audience in conversation. An easy way to share your content is to connect your blog with your Facebook account so new posts automatically publish to your Facebook page. When you do this, make sure you monitor the interaction with your fans. Don’t leave them hanging, and be sure to keep the conversation going and gather insights to understand what your fans want from you. This will help you decide which types of content your Facebook fans care about, and what to avoid.

2. Figure Out What Content Is Most Engaging

It’s easy to share your content through Facebook, but you should also be aware of what content is most successful for your business. Using Facebook Insights, Facebook’s internal analytics tool for pages, get a deeper look into the performance of your content. The Insights tool allows you to see your page interactions and monitors new and lifetime likes over time. It will also enable you to pinpoint which of your updates and posts perform well (and which don’t) so you can track trends and get a sense of the types of content you should post more of or avoid sharing in the future.

3. Segment (Then Target) Your Audience

On Facebook, you can now select which of your fans see specific types of content. When you create an update, you now have the ability to choose whether content should be public to all or viewable to only certain custom created groups. This is a great tool for marketers, because you can now create segments for your fans and then target them with relevant and personalized content, which research shows performs significantly better than content that isn’t personalized.

Your Facebook fan base is an incredibly powerful marketing asset. You should be aiming to grow the number of fans of your business page in order to continually expand your reach. At the very least, you should be looking to retain the fans you already have. But they already “Liked” your page, so you shouldn’t have to do much to keep them, right? Well, as it turns out, not only is this not true, but it’s actually a very dangerous assumption to make.

Last fall, Facebook came out with the “Unlike” button, which allows fans to unsubscribe from business pages. According to a recent study by DDB and OpinionWay, this button could have serious implications for your Facebook page, considering the study found that 2 out of every 5 Facebook users “Unlike” business pages.

A survey to find out why fans unsubscribe from brand pages revealed the following reasons:

Reasons for Facebook unlikes

In another study conducted by ExactTarget and CoTweet earlier this year, research revealed that the top 4 reasons for fans hitting the “Unlike” button were companies posting too frequently (44%), fans’ desire to get rid of the clutter of marketing posts on their wall (43%), content becoming repetitive or boring over time (38%), and that fans only “Liked” the page to take advantage of a one-time offer (26%).

With these daunting percentages, it may seem like the odds are stacked against you when it comes to retaining your Facebook fans. However, there are many things that you can do to avoid high “Unlike” rates.

4 Ways to Keep Fans From “Unliking” Your Page

1. Keep your posts interesting. The top two reasons fans unsubscribe from a page are because they’ve lost interest in the company or they’ve lost interest in the information the company is publishing. This means that your top strategy for retaining fans should be to publish interesting content. Don’t be repetitive or boring! No one likes to see the same messages in their news feeds over and over again. Facebook is social media, which means people are looking to have fun and read interesting things. Next time you write a status update or post a link to some content, ask yourself, “Does this sound exciting enough to make my fans want to read it?” If not, try to find a way to make it more interesting before you hit that “Post” button.

2. Publish relevant, valuable content. Not only should the content you publish be interesting, it should also be relevant and valuable to your fans. Make your posts informative and helpful. Think education, not marketing pitch. The point of content marketing is to establish yourself as a thought leader and educate your reader base, thereby enticing them to want to learn more about your product and offers. So don’t use Facebook for direct sales. Use it for engagement that generates leads.

3. Find a good balance for publishing frequency. Another top reason fans hit the “Unlike” button is because the company publishes too often, which gives fans of the page the feeling that they’re being flooded with updates. This can very easily become overwhelming and/or annoying, making it far more likely that fans will choose to unsubscribe from the page. On the other hand, though, 14% have “Unliked” a page because the company didn’t publish often enough. Publishing too infrequently leads the fans to either feel like there’s no point in remaining subscribed to the page, since they’re not getting any updates, or to lose interest in the company (and its page) and choose to unsubscribe. Find a posting frequency that maintains a good balance between these two extremes so you can keep your fans satisfied but still hungry for more. Which brings us to the final point…

4. Keep them coming back for more. The ExactTarget and CoTweet study we mentioned earlier found that 26% of Facebook users only “Liked” a business page to take advantage of a one-time offer. Running a Facebook contest or promotional offer can be a great strategy for attracting more fans to your page, but don’t let it stop there. Once they have “Liked” your page, keep them engaged. Give them more reasons to be excited they are fans of your page, whether it’s new offers, unique content, exciting company and industry updates, or fun games, quizzes, and contests. In other words, make your fans glad they found your page through that one-time offer, not because of that one-time offer alone.

There’s no shortage of ways to take advantage of a large fan base on Facebook to improve your marketing and extend your reach. So keep drawing in the fans, and once they’ve “Liked” you, use these tips to show them you’re too awesome to even consider “Unliking.”

You don’t get to 600 million friends without doing something spectacular. Mark Zuckerberg knows this more than anyone. But I wonder: do we have any hope of achieving similar success?

Facebook’s story begins, like most businesses, with a single idea and an ambitious person that executes it. Zuckerberg wasn’t a world-class genius, and Facebook was hardly a revolutionary idea. Yet here we stand: Facebook is one of the most valuable websites on the Internet, Zuckerberg is one of the world’s youngest billionaires, and MySpace… let’s not pick on them.

There wasn’t any magic, fate, or destiny at play here — anyone could’ve been in Zuckerberg’s position. However, just because anyone on this planet has the potential to achieve success, doesn’t mean that anyone else actually will.

There are factors at play: things like leadership, experience, timing, funding, and execution play their roles. But some things will always stand out above the rest, and many of the factors that really make a difference will never be taught at an ordinary business school. So let’s steal a few pages from Mark Zuckerberg’s school of business.

Lesson 1: Be passionate about what you do

If there is any way to create something that hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people will eventually use on a daily basis, you better be sure to create something that you would have passion and dedication in creating.

The aforementioned isn’t exactly a revelation to anyone, but if you are not genuinely interested in what you are creating, why would anyone else be? They wouldn’t. It’s a serious problem for many entrepreneurs of both young and old.

Lately we have seen entrepreneurs creating this businesses that some have little interest in actually investing their heart and soul into. Some of these startups look great on paper, but, in the end, the whole intention is to quickly flip these businesses to a company that has plenty of cash on hand. The investors, founders, and, if they’re lucky, employees get rich and everyone goes out for drinks to celebrate. If this is the measure of success, it is no wonder why we hear so much discussion about a potential tech bubble.

Mark Zuckerberg, however, is one of the most prominent examples in recent history of someone who has the passion. Not only did he care about his project, but he also turned down billions of dollars in order to let his company thrive. Turning away billions of dollars, and the opportunity to never have to work again, can’t be that difficult. Can it?

But the reality is that you, me, everyone needs to be reminded every once in a while that having a dedication and passion for what we do in life is key to happiness.

Lesson 2: Constant evaluation

There are generally two types of people in business: those who prefer to play it by gut instinct and those who analyze every little measurable detail. Both have their pros and cons; having a mix of both couldn’t hurt. Generally a person gravitates towards one or the other.

Mark Zuckerberg is the analyzer.

Zuckerberg always insisted that his employees create powerful analytics dashboards. Their purpose was simple: allow him and fellow employees to gauge the interest in newly released features to coordinate their global domination. While other companies were still figuring out which advertisements could be placed at which spot and generate the most return, Facebook focused on optimizing the performance of the user experience. He wanted to know which features worked and which did not.

Those who can gather enough data to garner an understanding of their users, while also being able to determine which features work and which do not, will ultimately be in a better position to achieve success.

The takeaway: do anything in your power (within reason, of course) to find ways to measure success and failure across the board, but don’t get so caught up in the data that you are unwilling to explore new avenues.

Lesson 3: Be willing to experiment

In Facebook’s infancy, its founder preferred to push out enhancements and never look back. This is, admittedly, easy to do when you have a few thousand users; they expect things to change at a rapid clip. But Facebook was different. People relied on Facebook in more ways than most other websites — it was a service that connected people to each other. At this point, failure is unacceptable.

Still, Zuckerberg preferred the gung ho method of development. He would regularly introduce new features — adding the “Wall,” introducing chat functionality, allowing third-party development, and changing the site’s layout (which I have had numerous complaints about before).

One has to admire the company’s insistence on pushing out features in a world where critical services tend to iterate slowly and safely (think Microsoft Windows). This insured that Facebook was a step ahead of the competition while also appearing innovative amidst growing competition.

Sure, there were those who didn’t appreciate these drastic changes (especially those dealing with privacy settings and layout), but when you have a vision, sometimes it pays to put in the extra effort and take the risk; explore it through to the end.

Lesson 4: Be aware of opportunity

Before Facebook, there was CourseMatch, an application that allowed students at Harvard University to compare their course selections for that semester. With this, Zuckerberg indulged students’ desires to know which classes their friends were joining. He exploited an opportunity.

Facemash was a similar expereince. It was Harvard’s Hot or Not for students. These students were interested in knowing where they stood socially — in some ways, we all do. And Zuckerberg, once again, saw an opportunity to exploit this as well.

Facebook was simply a culmination of all these previous opportunities into a single useful package.

It isn’t magic. But it does require looking at things in a different way — to see things for what they could be, as opposed to only what they have been or currently are. Zuckerberg’s ability to notice these opportunities and execute on them gave him the edge in creating and maintaining products that people believed in.

Opportunity exists everywhere — especially with the Internet, where the ability to reach millions is easier than ever. Perhaps there is so much opportunity out there that, perhaps, we have become ignorant to spot the most obvious of opportunities. But being able to spot opportunity is an invaluable skill.

Lesson 5: Make something useful

Facebook isn’t simply another interesting website to visit every once in a while. It is a tool that millions of people use to connect to each other. People use it for sharing experiences and creating new ones. Most importantly, Facebook does something that no other website has been able to do as efficiently, effectively, and with such impressive scale: it creates a virtual environment to interact with your real friends.

I don’t think it is necessary for me to explain how useful something like this is; the 600 million plus members does that well enough. Yet it is this usefulness that makes the company a success. It is a recurring theme that all successful companies build upon. It is also something that many startups don’t seem to comprehend.

If you want the best business advice out there, here it is: create something useful.

Explaining what makes a product or service useful is simple: it is something that people are using repeatedly and on a regular basis. Make something that you and others could use on a regular basis, and make this thing unique. If you do this, along with everything else mentioned here, you will have an opportunity to create and maintain a successful business.

And who knows? Maybe you will be the one creating the next Facebook killer.

Last week, the most prestigious investment bank in the world, Goldman Sachs, decided to invest almost 2 billion dollars in the social network Facebook (a mix of its own and its clients capital), which on paper made the six year old startup worth $50,000,000,000.

Yes, a social networking site is now worth $50 Billion Dollars. With a B.

The recent frenzy around the Goldman Sachs investment as well as the selling of private shares has been a sight to see: everyone wants in on the action. To the casual observer Facebook can do no wrong, they are still growing strong and everyone seems to want in on it.

But, if you’ve ever been a part of an online social network, you might be wondering…what happens when all the cool kids leave and nobody goes there anymore? It has happened with all of them so far, from the online BBSes of the 80s right up to Facebook’s predecessor MySpace, which while still having millions of users is doing poorly financially and has lost its cool edge.

Douglas Rushkoff, who has witnessed and chronicled the rise of the Web as well as anybody, thinks that the recent investment is actually a signal that Facebook has reached its zenith, and will soon join the ranks of all the other “been there, done that” social networks. In Facebook Hype will Fade, he lays out his argument:

Rushkoff writes:

“Appearances can be deceiving. In fact, as I read the situation, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of Facebook. These aren’t the symptoms of a company that is winning, but one that is cashing out.

The object of the game, for any one of these ultimately temporary social networks, is to create the illusion that it is different, permanent, invincible and too big to fail. And to be sure, Facebook has gone about as far as any of them has at creating that illusion.

If you were there for Compuserve, AOL, Tripod, Friendster, Orkut, MySpace or LinkedIn, you might have believed the same thing about any one of those social networks. Remember when those CD Roms from AOL came in the mail almost every day? The company was considered ubiquitous, invincible. Former AOL CEO Steve Case was no less a genius than Mark Zuckerberg.

Yet social media is itself as temporary as any social gathering, nightclub or party. It’s the people that matter, not the venue. So when the trend leaders of one social niche or another decide the place everyone is socializing has lost its luster or, more important, its exclusivity, they move on to the next one, taking their followers with them. (Facebook’s successor will no doubt provide an easy “migration utility” through which you can bring all your so-called friends with you, if you even want to.)

We will move on, just as we did from the chat rooms of AOL, without even looking back. When the place is as ethereal as a website, our allegiance is much more abstract than it is to a local pub or gym. We don’t live there, we don’t know the owner, and we are all the more ready to be incensed by the latest change to a privacy policy, or to learn that every one of our social connections has been sold to the highest corporate bidder.

So it’s not that MySpace lost and Facebook won. It’s that MySpace won first, and Facebook won next. They’ll go down in the same order.”

Rushkoff’s argument is that Facebook is merely the latest in a long line of social networks that have risen and fallen…he sees no reason why Facebook (albeit the biggest ever) is no different.

In the long term I definitely agree with Rushkoff…Facebook has a lifecycle just like everything else. But short-term we can identify several factors that will influence how fast Facebook loses its mojo:

Social Graph Export

Once we have our friends identified and connected with, a service becomes more valuable because we don’t have to go anywhere to find them. Facebook is betting that by owning the social graph (and making it difficult to export) they will have you locked into the service long-term. So far this seems to be the case, but if other social networks can use the current export tools to recreate the social graph and add valuable data on top of it, then they could start stealing user’s attention away from the service.

The Loss of Exclusivity

But there also comes a point when we’ve connected with so many people in one spot that that spot loses its exclusivity…it’s not special to be there anymore. This is the point that Rushkoff is making…equating social networks with social hotspots like gyms or clubs, whose popularity ebbs and flows with some sort of cool factor. This is a natural change that will inevitably occur…it already feels like Facebook is not cool anymore.

The Value of Niche Networks

For some time now we’ve seen other, niche social networks grow slowly into real communities. Sites like Ravelry, PatientsLikeMe, Dribbble, and others focus on supporting a specific activity and by doing so serve their audiences better than an all-encompassing social network like Facebook can. As more and more niche networks mature, they’ll increasingly steal attention away from Facebook.

A Return to Identity

Design-wise, it’s well known that Facebook is the yang to MySpace’s yin. Where MySpace let users customize their page in any way they wanted, Facebook has very little customization options at all. We’re seeing the rise of personal identity sites like flavors.me and about.me fill that gap…it will be interesting to see what sort of adoption those identity sites get going forward. So far they’re growing quickly.

In the meantime, Facebook is the current social network juggernaut now worth 50 billion dollars and they seem to have all the momentum in the world. The question is…is Facebook bound by the same laws of physics as everyone else?