I’ve given five public talks in the last two weeks and in several of them I’ve done a poll: “How many people here were active on Facebook six months ago? Please keep your hands up for a moment... of those, how many still are?” Not many hands stay up. Mind you, these audiences are mostly grown-up.



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From: Mark Groen (Apr 23 2008, at 10:36)

Sure, have a facebook account as well as twitter, but who has the time?

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From: John Minnihan (Apr 23 2008, at 11:03)

Dead on, Tim.

Facebook's stickiness is very weak for business (adults) people. This is contrasted with Twitter's extreme stickiness.

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From: Bob Aman (Apr 23 2008, at 11:13)

Yeah... honestly, I don't think any social networks, with the possible exception of Twitter, really deal with the needs of professionals. LinkedIn tries hard, but my 4-year-old cell phone's contacts list does everything LinkedIn does and then some. Facebook works great if you're in high school, college, or if you're, like me, recently graduated. But I use it for playing go, scrabble, sharing pictures, videos, and links, and the like. My professional life is only referenced in passing when I'm on Facebook.

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From: Dan Ciruli (Apr 23 2008, at 13:18)

Even Scoble has stopped using Facebook -- and if the Web 2.0 Early Adopter Poster Child has stopped using you, you've become irrelevant.

Alas, I think they Poked-Vampired-Scrabuloused themselves out of relevancy for business users. I have a Facebook page, I have lots of friends who have a Facebook page, but I've nevernevernever used it for business purposes.

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From: Arve Bersvendsen (Apr 24 2008, at 00:33)

From uninformatively polling mostly adult people, this seems to be the same: People have just stopped using it. They have definitively stopped talking about it.

Not many people have done what I did, though, which is to get utterly and completely out, deleting the account and any data associated with it.

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From: Henry Story (Apr 24 2008, at 01:29)

I have a Facebook account and LinkedIn account, and I really don't use them much. From time to time I get an email asking me to become Friends with someone.

In comparison I spend a lot of time in the bloggosphere, more than I should for sure. Why? Well it's an open social network. Everyone can participate, and speak and link up to everyone else.

The social network I spend most time on is the open foaf (friend of a friend) network. Now here I am willing to invest in for the same reasons. Freedom is not an option, as Scoble, and a drinking buddies here in France found out when he got kicked off Facebook.

All that is needed now is to build the equivalent of a feed reader for social networks. This is what the So(m)mer Address Book project is working on. You can even try it out:

https://sommer.dev.java.net/AddressBook.html

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From: Mark Szpakowski (Apr 24 2008, at 13:43)

I think there are some interesting subtleties here. I am on Facebook, keep the apps to a minimum, but do find it a unique experience: it's the only "place" on the web (I only know of one other site that comes close, and it's private) that gives the feeling of being in a multi-level society, somewhat mirroring the geography of family & neighborhood & city & country we live in. And its UI is unusually clean, even though constantly under threat. It includes many people I do not work with or share work-style thoughts with.

Twitter, strangely enough, seems more of a work environment. I update Facebook status at most once a day, and the updates are usually of a more social, poetic, or philosophical nature. I share these with Twitter (using BlogIt). However, I post many tweets, which have more of a professional thinking flavour, even if sometimes playful, which I don't feel are appropriate to copy to my Facebook society at large. Facebook still conveys the same sort of indication about the coming nature of online society that NCSA Mosaic did so long ago.

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From: Bilgehan (Apr 24 2008, at 13:56)

Usage trends vary greatly between countries. Nearly no one uses Twitter in Türkiye (Turkey) but number of Facebook users exceeded 1.5 million.

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From: Anonymous (Apr 24 2008, at 14:30)

I have to write this anonymously

Here it comes:

I don't have a Facebook page. A couple of my friends also never bothered. Everyone else at work uses Facebook, but are getting tired of them. At lunch someone actually asked how many of them had visited Facebook this month. Only 4 of the 8 people sitting at the table had bothered.

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From: Derek K. Miller (Apr 25 2008, at 14:04)

I resisted joining Facebook for a very long time, and finally my wife and friends (who set up a "Derek should join Facebook" group) got me in. I use it regularly, but:

1. I refuse all application/zombie/game requests, and have installed a minimum of app plugins, mostly to link with stuff like Twitter, my blog, and Flickr. I rarely post photos to Facebook directly, and indeed, most of what happens in my profile comes from Twitter tweets, imported posts from my blog RSS feed, and so on.

2. I'm perfectly comfortable if Facebook becomes irrelevant or disappears at any time, as I've seen so many other hot cool trendy services do over the years. I consider any Facebook message/email conversation to be as ephemeral as unarchived IMs -- in fact, once a thread has gone back and forth a few times, I delete it. If a conversation deserves a longer life, I move it to regular email so I can keep the messages.

Yes, it's a walled garden, but it has connected me with so many people I would otherwise never have found -- many of whom I haven't communicated with in decades -- that it remains useful.

I don't use it for any significant business purpose, though. And I have never been on LinkedIn. Or Friendster or Orkut for that matter. I continue to blog and user Twitter (also something recent for me) and post photos to Flickr. If Facebook fades away, I'll simply continue on, and won't miss (or try to extract) any of the data that goes with it.

In other words, don't take Facebook too seriously, and it remains rewarding.

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From: Aidan Kehoe (Apr 26 2008, at 07:50)

I like this comment on social networking sites, which I came across via Justin Mason: http://bitworking.org/news/231/Nobody-goes-there-anymore

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