Facebook Where’s Your Loyalty?
// Posted by Claire on 04/14/2014 (2:06 AM)
When reading Wire this weekend I came across an article that talked about the upcoming changes to the Facebook platform, which includes the deletion of Facebook chat from the main frame Facebook. This raises the question of what is Facebook going to become of in the Future? Facebook is such an integral part of our culture in the U.S today that is seems hard to imagine it becoming obsolete.
The Wired article suggest that instead of using Facebook as a one stop shop for all your social media is it going to morph into a service of a constellation of wireless apps. This format though seems to contradict pretty much everything we have learned about in class this semester. We have learned that people are moving more towards convenience and one stop shopping in all areas of their lives. This directly contradict Facebooks strategy for changing their platform overall. Kleiner Perkins at iFund states
“When you introduce complexity, it can dilute the overall experience.”
What makes Facebook think they can change the user experience and all of their subscribers will follow mindlessly? With the number of apps and social media platforms popping up all the time this seems like an incredibly risky bet.
Facebook states the reason for the breaking off of their services because of the decrease in the expansion of their user base over the last couple of years. Facebook is looking towards snapchat and Whatsapp and seeing huge growth in their user base and is essentially attempting to gain more users by conforming to their method. This really seems like a cop out from finding a truly new and innovative product. They are not creating anything new they are simply providing the same old service with more inconvenience for its users.
However the Ryan Tate, the author of the article, says this might be what Facebook needs in order to keep its strong hold on the social media environment. The biggest threat to an established technology company is innovation from their competitors. Facebook thinks capitalizing on the social app market is their solution to staying relevant. This does seem like a much better option than techniques other technology firms have made in the past to continue to succeed. Facebook has yet to solicit help from lawmakers and other innovation hampering means.
With Facebook attempting to capitalize on the social media app market you also have to ask yourself the question of why this market is so profitable to begin with? The answer to that at the end of the day is from the use of your information.With other articles on Wired valuing Tinder at around 5 billion dollars, the app business must be getting more out of it than simply matching up couples to talk. All of these giant tech companies are beginning to see their source of great wealth in the amount of information they can gather from their users. When will this exploitation of its users catch up to the giant app platforms? The breaking off of Facebook chat is purely in the interest of Facebook and their statistics, not in the interest of its loyal users. Where has the spirit of the Internet gone? It use to be about the open creation and sharing of information, now it is simply about how corporations can gather your free and personal thoughts in order to advertise to you better. Data mining at places like Facebook have created a sense of fear on the internet through their facial recognition software, the fear of being caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. Facebook at its onset was about connecting people and allowing them to share their thought openly and freely.
Only time will tell if Facebook will be able to keep up with all of the changing technologies and startups. Either this movement towards a constellation of apps will be deemed a huge success and forward thinking at its best, or it will drive away the already stagnated user based Facebook has acquired.