Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Facebook - nice to have or need to have?

Remember the days when the first mobile phones appeared in the streets? People would shake their heads at this strange sight of people apparently speaking into the air. Because only few other people had a mobile phone the joy of being mobile was very small, and the bills were way too big. A few years later the share of people carrying a mobile phone rose and the benefits became more and more obvious. It seemed nice to have a mobile phone, but the prices were still high. And going mobile also was a lifestyle choice and a statement that divided people. Some years later almost everybody had gone mobile and the last offline hippies had to surrender. Now you needed to have a mobile if you wanted to play, personally and professionally. Of course you can use your phone in many different ways and modus, but being available on the platform is indeed mandatory.

The same scenario seems to be evolving with Facebook – but in a much faster pace. As only a smaller percentage had a profile on Facebook the site gave the users new possibilities of interacting with some of their friends and a addictive way of spending some time between other activities. Facebook was something new, a useful tool or a playful toy, but you could live without it.

But this changed as the group of followers also entered the platform (the followers recently entered for the age group 25-30 in Denmark). As your network is complete (everyone in a group is present on the platform) it makes sense communicating only through this channel. The network economy of Facebook is increasing the benefits of participating. And the remaining people, the opponents or what you might call the „Faceless", are experiencing greater costs on not being on the platform. And the costs of not taking part will increase as the basic messaging, posting and sharing tools on Facebook will improve and increasingly become an integrated part of the way we communicate – personally and professionally. Like the time where all your friends finally had an email so you could send invites via mail. Do you remember when you had to call or (sms)text the email opponents? Did you remember to call them?

Facebook is changing our lives, just as the phone, the mobile phone and the email has done. Facebook makes communicating easy, effective and viral. It is no coincidence that Facebook were the hype of 2007 and in 2008 has become a favorite place for medias to find news stories. It is because Facebook offers the essential proposition for the web 2.0 netizens: a home online. And you need to have a home, don’t you?!

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