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Thursday, January 6, 2011

The end of facebook

Among other things its founder, Mark Zuckerburg, was named Time's Person Of The Year.

Richard Spencer at AltRight explains:
...Facebook’s recent re-design has transformed each profile into even more of a consumer preference survey just waiting to be data-mined—one now is encouraged to define one’s self by which professional sports team one roots for, which corporations one “likes,” etc. Facebook is ultimately a cluttered mess, with numerous redundancies, unhelpful features, and comment boxes suitable only for scattered, snarky one-liners and little else. It is quickly becoming the opposite of the intuitively functional web—losing its clean, Ivy League aura that originally helped its triumph over the ghetto-fied MySpace.

The kicker to all this is that Facebook has really no barrier to exit. There’s little stopping its hundreds of millions of users from stampeding to the exits, transforming the current Babylon of social media into something resembling the mysterious ruins of the Friendster civilization.

There are other articles predicting the demise here and here.

As Spencer notes, Facebook is losing its original, functional aesthetic as its programmers begin to design for the third-party advertisers who actually pay for the bandwidth. Facebook suffers from the AOL curse of being first-with-the-best in an industry with extremely low barriers to entry. Demand for equity appears high now, but I'm thinking Zuckerburg better roll the IPO out sooner rather than later. A social network is ultimately just a medium. Will the income stream from ads (how many of us have actually clicked and purchased from a hyperlink?) and beta-issue games support a fifteen to fifty BILLION dollar valuation?

Facebook may ultimately be just an echo of the old dot-com bubble. I question whether we can pay our collective bills as a nation of graphic designers and software developers who don't actually make anything.

By the way, here's a sarcastic post on iSteve--what were the best films of 2010? that had me cracking up all day:
the social network: I simply liked the movie's heartening message:

1) Jewish American princesses are wonderful, heroic women (even if they changed their name to Albright).

2) Asian girls are whores! Jewish men should avoid them.

3) Light-skinned and dark-skinned Jews should work together to crush WASP competitors and new aspiring minorities (Indians).

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