Prior to 2009’s social networking revolution, Facebook was social media. Before ‘tweet’ became a verb; before the gardener’s dog had his own blog; before we had mobile applications that showed us where cash points were, we were quite content to post a few pictures on Facebook and scrawl messages on each other’s walls. But times have changed, and in social media, that change ain’t renowned for happening slowly.
A Twitter friend of mine, @WendyJacob, whom I have also had the pleasure of meeting in real life, has used her insightful blog to discuss the function of Facebook in today’s social media-rich world. She argues that she uses Facebook purely for social reasons, which I believe is a vital question that social marketers must address.
Around eighteen months ago (comparable eons in SM terms), Facebook was your one-stop shop for social media. Comfortable cornering the market, Facebook users used the site for everything, from personal branding to chatting with friends and playing games. As we sit upon the cusp of 2010 however, an abundance of options offer us specific channels for each purpose of our lives, social and professional – so what does this mean for Facebook?
In short, Facebook is like a middle-aged father suffering an identity crisis. Threatened by the arrival of trendy new kids on the block, the site is struggling to incorporate a variety of features in order to keep up with the leading pack and offer all users everything they could possible want. It shouldn’t.
The age-old LinkedIn vs Facebook debate still rumbles on in social marketing circles. Sure, Facebook has an undeniable larger reach – put simply, it is the largest network of people in the world – but quantity does not necessarily equate to quality.
The success of channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs about gardening and applications for gaming geeks all succeed due to one common theme – they serve a specific purpose. For the majority of Generation Y (and I include myself in this demographic), Facebook will forever connote fun, friends and frivolity rather than a professional ‘Brand Me’.
Recruiters and marketers may wax lyrical about Facebook’s reach, but as with all marketing, it’s about hitting the right people in the right channel – and Facebook should remain a playground rather than a board room.
Am I alone in this sentiment?