Facebook is either desperate or brilliant. They’ve been rolling out the punches this week – first with their aquistion of FriendFeed, then in their addition of Realtime Facebook Search, and now they have plans to release a stripped-down over-simplified version of their platform aptly named ‘Facebook Lite‘.
I’m not here to break the news, but rather to assess the situation. In an episode of my podcast I talked about the natural progression we seem to be witnessing in social media. Myspace started it all, full of options and customization potential – it was the first real social media success story.
Enter Facebook stage left. When it came onto the scene we all loved it’s exclusivity – limited to college kids, very simple and clean design. Options and customization was limited but it was much better for networking and remembering the name of that girl you made out with at the party last night. As time went on, Myspace fell by the wayside and the sleeker, simpler Facebook took over.
And then there’s Twitter – still a relative newb to the social media soiree. But once again, it has branded itself as an ultra-simplistic networking tool – going so far as to limiting how much you can say – and look where it is today. In sheer membership numbers, it still doesn’t hold a candle to Facebook, but it’s trending popularity cannot be denied.
Twitter was initially appealing to most of us because of it’s streamline approach. It made connecting and networking more efficient and served (and continues to serve) as a valuable promotional tool for our blogs and companies. Most of us keep Facebook around primarily to keep in touch with friends from our past – but in a personal/professional growth sense, we live and die by our 140 character tweets.
And now the vicious cycle continues with the newly announced ‘Facebook Lite’ – will it be effective? Or is it Facebook’s desperate attempt to keep up with the trend?
Some Questions to think about and discuss:
- What’s Facebook Lite’s angle? Is it to directly combat the simplistic approach of Twitter?
- Which do you value more? Customization/options or simplicity?
- Can less really be more?
- What can/should Twitter with their platform in response?
- What’s the next step for social media evolution?
Update: @morganives shared the following link which claims ‘Facebook Lite’ is not, in fact a ‘Twitter Killer’ but is instead is planned for use in parts of the world where internet is slow and/or expensive: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/12/AR2009081200580.html