In a recent post, Memo to Eric Schmidt: Being Social is Not a Widget, Matthew Ingram nicely lays out all of the entry barriers Google has failed to get over in its expensive attempt to be a viable social network. Just as the Yahoo/Microsoft search teams look enviously on its master competitor, Google undoubtedly knows they are just a flea on social networking’s 800 pound gorilla, Facebook. Which begs the question, who does Facebook envy with its sad puppy eyes? Perhaps for its shareholders, a Nasdaq traded symbol. Is it possible that Facebook may reach critical mass and then looks to deviate its focus and wanna be like Google? Logically at some point enough Facebook users get tired of all the incessant wall postings such as when a friend’s 2 year old daughter just used the potty for the first time (hopefully a picture of the evidence was not included). Mixed in all those comments are posts from the 50 “Fan Pages” you thought would be cool to join. As the novelty wears off of learning what all your long lost friends look like and what they are up to, usage will drop down creating a cascading effect thru the chain of friends. To the newcomers, or should they be latecomers at this point, the initial surge phase maybe short lived. When the third generation of “newcomers”, ironically the Baby Boomers of today, cannot offset the attrition of the first (Facebooks .edu days) and second generation (the rest of us) critical mass has been reached and no amount of money can change that.
P.S. Just came across Jye Smiths article on 4 case studies in utility, value and entertainment in which he discusses the success of Burger Kings’ defriend campaign.