October 25, 2012

#Facebook: The new #MySpace?

Graphic courtesy Dangerous Minds
To be honest, it should already be that way, if Google had handled the rollout of Google+ better, on issues from pseudonymity (where it failed to see it had an issue where it could have trumped FB) to business pages (with many small businesses, now, using G+ but NOT FB) and more.

But, Google, with a mix of cockiness and sluggishness, both of which makes one wonder if maybe it hasn’t gotten so big it’s resting on its laurels a lot, didn’t do that.

But, Facebook is deciding to shoot itself in the foot, over and over.

First came the revelation that posts, on average, were only reaching about 16 percent of our friends. With pages, rather than individual people, it soon became apparent that might be deliberate.

The rollout of Facebook’s “promote” button, for $7 a pop to promote a post, pretty much erased all doubt.

This is like going to a doctor on your HMO — an HMO that only has two or three doctors and this one is allegedly the best, by far — and the doctor deliberately making you sick so you’ll come back even more.

One Facebook friend, Leo Lincourt, notes that FB is just a big group blog, in a sense. I suggested Tumblr, then needed to either start its own social networking site, or go “Meta” (or somebody else should)— somebody like Networked Blogs doing something improve the meta-social media interface, for less techie people to easily use?

Leo had previously noted Firefox was rolling out a few tools, but they were all Facebook-based, at least to start. He adds that WordPress is incorporating some social media features in its platform. And I note that … as owner of Blogger along with Google+, it seems Google is staring another great idea in the face and being too slow to react. (That said, from what I know, Blogger’s consistently behind the curve against WordPress.)

Then, there’s the issue of the “sob story” pages on Facebook. Many of them, the alleged “sob story” either isn’t real, or happened five years or more ago. One commenter, rightfully, calls them the equivalent of chain letters.

But, that’s not the big issue. The big issue is that these are pages that are, often, being started by corporations or, in political silly season, PACS, think tanks, etc., to get enough “likes” to massively gin up their Edge Rank, the Facebook equivalent of Google’s Page Rank. Then, the page owner does the bait-and-switch and starts corporate marketing, politician marketing, etc.

Per Facebook friend Matt Crowley, in its mix of generally skeezy tactics and lowest-common-denominator appeal, Facebook is already going down the MySpace road.

So, let’s just call Mark Zuckerberg Rupert Murdock in a hoodie.

Beyond that, though, let’s call for social media sites to be viewed by our federal government as something akin to a utility (especially pre-deregulation days) and implement some (light-handed) regulatory framework. Once again, despite its monetary problems, the European Union is already be ahead of us on this issue.

That said, this is why I’d like Firefox and its parent, the Mozilla Foundation, or somebody like it, a nonprofit organization, jump more fully into the social media world than it has to date, and to do so on its own, rather than with extensions or plug-ins, especially if they’re Facebook-connected, at least to start.

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