Facebook reached fame, scale and profitability before Pinterest. And that is a worthy accomplishment in the digital realm. Facebook is run by razor sharp individuals across a variety of fields. They are doing very well for themselves.
However, Pinterest offers a superior user experience. Pinterest gives you a blank canvas that you can shape and mold to your personality. Facebook gives you a very strictly designed box and has you fill in all the blanks. Facebook is good for people who want their online lives to be automated and auto filled. But for people who want to infuse their digital life with their own will and personality and taste, Pinterest is unsurpassed.
On Pinterest you can differentiate yourself from other users. You can shape peoples’ encounters with you by what you choose to feature. Facebook reads more like a social resume. It has reduced us all to the same set of data. Which it is mining for advertising.
Pinterest could well be mined too. It’s an entire ecosystem built around what people love. Facebook is centered around today, with a timeline that stretches out to our near past. Pinterest is a forward looking service. It’s a crystal ball that we can inform. It lets users plant the seeds of their own future. It deals in inspiration. There is a value in stalking someone on Pinterest. Stalking someone on Facebook only fuels idle gossip.
Pinterest has the potential to move us all forward. It has the potential to own the visual web. It has the potential to show us where we can go next. You can see Pinterest’s power by how many imitators have sprung up in the past year and a half. How many websites are imitating Facebook?
Facebook built the foundation of the social web. Pinterest is poised to leapfrog with inspiration and innovation.
NIKE RUN Like ME Intro movie - Meet Joseph, the man who will run 100 meters for every Facebook Like!!
It started off as a dorm room joke. Then it evolved into a campus experiment before eventually tipping into a multi-billion dollar advertising juggernaut.
Does Facebook represent a new way of doing business, or are we caught up in the interactive glare of a new Fool’s Gold?
I believe Facebook as it currently exists is not sustainable. It’s meteoric rise has been impressive and inspiring, but is that due more to the fact that they were the first ones to bet heavily (and with great ambition) in the social networking space.
Google is learning from Facebook’s learnings and has been chasing them with a passion. With Google’s recently refreshed mobile app, you could even argue that Google ‘gets’ mobile better than Facebook. That’s concerning considering the present and future of digital will be predominantly mobile.
Facebook is a phenomenal personal networking tool. It’s a great way to keep up with friends. But other than automating the ease with which you can connect, what additional value are they providing customers? I can see how they are offering advertisers tremendous value. ‘Pay us and you can talk to our 900 million citizens.’ But what is the value for those 900 million? Is Facebook sustainable as an advertising sales company?
What happens when people ignore the ads? Get fed up with the intrusions? Or another social network rises to prominence by promising to be ad free?
I think Facebook will chase its tail a little bit here. From one point of view, you could claim that Facebook has become the digital equivalent of a television broadcast network. They are making broadcast space available to advertisers for a fee. Yes, there is the omnipresent ‘Like’ button to make it technically ‘two-way’ conversation. But are people begging for these ads? Do people wake up and say ‘Man, I really want to engage with some brands online today.’
If they do, then Facebook has cracked the code. If not, perhaps they are a traditional broadcast media platform in social media clothing (coding).
I think Facebook is in a great position to radically change what they do. I’m not sure if the investors will allow that to happen. But if they built some new, surprising arms to their operation, they could take their business to another level. They could leverage their massive user base to create products around the types of things that people love sharing. Music, video, and hell, even something like GIFs. But those theories are fodder for another post, or a coffee talk with the Chief Hoodied Officer himself.
Time and dollars will tell.
All I know, is when it comes to Facebook’s stock:
‘Like’ low, ‘Unlike’ high.Tweet
Tumblr is the hub of the creative web. Their platform has found a way to intuitively include multimedia content creation from across the whole web. Tumblr’s image is of cat photos and animated GIFs, but the platform itself is much broader than that. You can shape your Tumblr to reflect yourself as a creative person.
Twitter is the best way I’ve found to attract a creative audience. Facebook can generate content views among your friends, but Twitter is public facing. When you create content and broadcast it through Twitter, there is no telling who it can reach. Audience building is a core requirement of any creative person looking for more opportunity. Twitter can get you there.
Facebook is great for contacting your pre-established network and base of loyal supporters. They can be your messengers and evangelists. Facebook Pages provides a way to establish a more outward facing front to your creative web presence.
LinkedIn has become a vital part of how I operate on the creative web. For some, LinkedIn is seen as little more than a resume, but I see it as a way to network with creative talent, share inspiration in groups and even make yourself available for job opportunities and collaborations.
Google+ is new to the game, and I’m still working on building my initial audience. But I’ve already seen the value of how it is set up. I don’t see Google+ as a competitor to Facebook. Google+ is a social network based on shared interests. Facebook is a social network based on existing relationships. I see Google+ as valuable moving forward as a way to connect with a vast network of creative individuals. The possibilities feel much more open than on Facebook.
Visiting Klout has become a part of my morning routine. At first it was just my early adopter friends on there, but now I’m seeing a lot wider base of people. Klout seems to be the place to go if you want to be known for something. I think this will prove valuable moving forward. On the creative web, it’s vital for people to know if you are a photographer, a director, a writer, etc. I see Klout as a way to help people connect the dots about you. It gives people a snapshot into what region of the creative web you hang out in. What conversations you engage in most.
Instagram has redefined what a social network can be. They have effectively fired the warning cannons of Web 3.0. They are mobile, social, intuitive and now officially validated with their 1 billion dollar sale to Facebook. The upside is unlimited. On the surface it’s ‘just a photo-sharing app,’ but within its experience lies far more than that. It’s a way to share real time experience in a more visceral way that moves beyond the tired confines of status updates. It lets you connect lightly (likes) or deeply (comments and discussions that can unfurl beneath a single image). It’s searchable, it’s scaleable and for some reason, the photos always look great. Look for more companies to erect social networks around deceivingly simple premises, that engineer a ton of depth and emotion into the user experience.
Since the Internet proved it could attract a mass audience, companies have been looking for ways to lasso its unlimited potential. However, during the short history of the Internet, no company’s lasso has proven big enough. AOL tried to reign in the potential by sending out trillions of CDs promising hours of free dial-up access. The strategy worked for a while, but in the end, free choice and competition burst AOL’s lasso by proving people had mail elsewhere.
More recently, social networks have been hiring the smartest minds, coders and magicians they could find to construct intelligent lassos. MySpace burned out fast and bright in a twinkling animated GIF of glory, but the system it presented promised a new, possibly sustainable model.
Facebook entered the game and learned from MySpace’s mistakes. They kept more control of their visual identity and provided a more neutral way for people to claim their online presences. They extended their product beyond the walls of their garden by passing out ‘Like’ buttons that we can install at will on every bit of content on our blogs and personal sites. The ‘Like’ button became the political yard signs in Facebook’s campaign to win the Internet.
Google took note of Facebook’s intelligent lasso, and put an army of Googlers on a crusade to build a bigger, more Googley lasso. Google has already conquered the Internet’s search game, turning itself into a non-ironic verb in the process. ‘Google me, dude.’
But Google’s success at building the world’s best search lasso didn’t quell their ambition to build an ever better lasso. With the Internet now segmented, total control and gatekeeping of it’s information, memes and all the cats is proving to be an intense battle.
Startups emerge overnight that win legions of dedicated users, and threaten to offset the delicate balance of corporate Internet ownership. Instagram gains millions of followers in a matter of months and becomes a billion dollar asset.
Facebook swallows the photo-sharing asset, and must not find a way to incorporate the intelligence of Instagram (and whatever intelligence they buy) onto a working part of their new Internet lasso.
Meanwhile Google is scheming to not be out +1ed at their own game. They are quickly iterating their own product Google+.
While Facebook and Google see each other as mortal, virtual e-enemies, I see them, as a consumer of their products, as serving two vastly different needs. Facebook is the tool that organizes my inward facing life, friends and family. Its Timeline marks the roller coaster of my personal life. Google+ is proving to be about connecting with EVERY ONE ELSE. Google+ represents the outward facing world, the people I haven’t met yet. Potential audience members. Potential employers. Potential partners.
For now it makes sense to keep my accounts with both Facebook and Google+ active. They serve two distinct needs for me. However I think in the future, that connecting with the larger world, and the people you don’t know yet, but perhaps need to to accelerate your personal arc, will prove to be the more valuable service.
So for now I will keep all social media lassos twirling. And I’ll judge their effectiveness as this crazy rodeo called the Internet evolves into a bull.Tweet
When it comes to new websites and networks, I am an early adopter. I sign up as soon as I hear about a new service and start testing it out. Maybe I’m too early of an adopter because there must be over a hundred things I’ve signed up for and never done much more with than the preliminary account setup. It’s interesting to see what platforms have legs and which things never catch on or are quickly replaced.
At this point, several of the major networks have developed sturdy roots. Twitter proved it was more than a passing fad. Facebook has long since vanquished Myspace. And LinkedIn has managed to keep it’s professional front. I’ve been a big fan of Tumblr from the beginning, although it hasn’t achieved the same kind of critical mass as the other services I mentioned.
Since some of these services have proved their staying power, it makes me think how they can all be used most effectively. How they can be combined. How I can use each of them separately to represent myself online. I want to use the best digital tools and networks to express myself, further my creative pursuits and find new opportunities that allow me to grow both online and off. I explain this to most people and am met with blank stares usually. But as a creative person who thrives off of making things myself, the Internet is the greatest invention for finding an organic audience. I can make my art, my writing and my music and then input it all into the proper channels and have the ability for anybody in the world to find it. Every creative person wants to be heard, and the series of networks that make up the Internet offer that potential.
I want to create a personal digital ecosystem that lets me make my art and then distribute it throughout my various networks. I want to have discussions with these same networks and find out what is inspiring them. I want to have every little tweet, comment or share to reflect a tiny piece of my greater mission. I want to rain content and have my digital ecosystem grow. The kind of growth I’m interested in is more connections, more opportunities and a larger audience.
I call it a digital ecosystem. Maybe I’ll call it something else next week, but today I like how it sounds. It feels like it has evolved past the notion of networks. It feels like it can support a variety of activities. And I also love the idea of combining technology and analog metaphors to create new meaning. We’ll see how long I stick with it, but for now, I’ll call my mission an effort to build a personal digital ecosystem.