Facebook Convert Apologizes

Last June, brimming with the confidence that invariably attends the launch of an upstart social media business, I posted on a discussion I had with SocialSphere’s John Della Volpe about the momentum building behind Facebook.  John, at the time an advisor to SchoolPulse, warned that Facebook’s reach posed a real threat to nascent SchoolPulse and every other social networking platform on the planet.  My response:

I don’t buy it. Facebook may work for GenY, a demographic that has grown up in a very different technology context and is comfortable in that medium. The rest of us — anybody over age 30, really — aren’t looking for social networking. We are looking for ways to improve, simplify, enrich, organize, extend… our real lives. A generic social networking platform built to serve tens of millions can’t do that.

Well, it turns out he was right.

Over the past three months, I find myself spending an increasing amount of time on Facebook, and that investment of attention is steadily increasing.  I post photos and updates from my iPhone, I visit the site 10 or 20 times a day, I have connected with long-lost high school and college friends, and I created a group to manage my 25th high school reunion (46 FB members so far!).  I love it.  Tonight, my wife – a mid-late technology adopter and FB newbie – spent about an hour connecting with old friends, dishing with others… She had a blast.

In my June post, I asserted that generic platforms couldn’t meet the requirements of the 30+ crowd, and that’s just not true.  The network effects of a platform like Facebook (meaning that the service becomes more valuable as more people join) are real, tangible, and render moot any objections about generic look and feel.

If the most vociferous opponents are the most difficult to convert, then Facebook must be pretty good.  In fact, I’m more than a convert.  I’m an evangelist.

Go ahead, give it a try.

7 Responses to Facebook Convert Apologizes

  1. Richard Wells says:

    Similarly, when you first told me about what would become SchoolPulse, I didn’t get it either. Then I found a bunch of old friends through LinkedIn and thought perhaps it was Facebook for Grown-Ups. Turns out that Facebook is Facebook for Grown-Ups (and whither the kids…?).

    So does SchoolPulse need a Facebook app…?


  2. Jason Savage says:

    I initially responded to Facebook with a look that I once saw your brother-in-law Marshall give to a waiter who uttered the words “braised cabbage”. Why would I possibly want anything to do with that, and further more, who in their right mind would?

    Well over a year later it has its hooks deeply into me. I have had a blast reconnecting with long lost friends, and I love seeing pictures that tell you so much about their lives (they have kids? cool. she dates women? didn’t know that!).

    And, of course, the status updates are its own subculture. One which brings out the worst side of my wise-ass, approval-seeking insecurities. Yet I can’t stop…

  3. Amit Nanda says:

    John, As we have chatted in the past – I saw several PTA moms on FB and got the sense that it had arrived. So we launched our app – SchoolSpace – http://www.new.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=7860418049.

    What I’ve seen is that FB is currently a “social” draw. There’s been a lot of talk about it being used for value apps (and infact FB themselves buy into this to some extent if you look at the FB fund investments). However the parents I find on there tend to be busy catching up with their pasts (and loving it). Also there are so many apps that its hard to discover good apps. We’ve had strange results – more fans than monthly active users! So those who find it seem to like it but just not enough finding it.

  4. This is quite a up-to-date info. I think I’ll share it on Twitter.

  5. tracey says:

    For me, Facebook’s novelty wore off after a few months. I still check it occasionally, but the quick, silly comments aren’t as fulfilling as blogging is for me…

  6. Aron says:

    I would like to see more blog entries like this one

  7. Grosser says:

    great post! thanks…

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