Tuesday, December 11, 2007

When Web 2.0 thinks like Web 1.0

A recent message from one of my Facebook friends began with this:
I get a really creepy feeling about facebook. I am deleting my account.

No doubt this was in reference to the ongoing backlash against Beacon and the privacy issues associated. CK seems to have also cut loose her account, saying Facebook has gone from being a social utility, to a marketing channel. While I'm not ready to cut my ties to the social networking site completely, I will admit that the time I spend there has dipped considerably in the last few weeks.

What happened?

Advertising happened. Interruptions and clutter happened. A less enjoyable member experience happened.

But what really happened was that as I've said before, Mark Zuckerberg went from being Facebook member, to Facebook CEO. Web 1.0 was all about this massive online land-grab by companies to make money. Web 2.0 is about everyone being able to create share and exchange content online and collaborate on ideas.

Facebook used Web 2.0 thinking to reach its height, but now that major dollars have entered the equation, seem to be slipping back to the Web 1.0 mindset.

One of the great marketing truths is this: Communities do not form around the idea of being monetized.

Pic via Flickr user Sorenshaman


Email Me


Mack Collier said...

CK tried to leave this comment, but apparently Google is also acting very Web 1.0, and making it difficult for readers without a Google account to comment. Here's what she tried to say:

"What happened?

Advertising happened. Interruptions and clutter happened. A less enjoyable member experience happened."

I can tell ya what happened:

a. they tried to manufacture WOM by violating privacy (we're not talking ads, we're talking violations)

b. they risked trust.

Can't promote the best practices I do and then supply content to a player that forgets that customers = revenues and trust = keeping those customers happy.

Great article. And I'm still VERY active at other outlets (and of course I'm a loyal reader of The Viral Garden).

Tim Jackson said...

Mack, there is no way I could have said all that any better. I'm still using Facebook too, but I admit that I'm getting creeped out by all the other stuff going on there.

Gavin Heaton said...

Unfortuntely this is a well known phenomenon. When companies are in their startup phase they work in an agile way, take care and notice of their customers, and behave in ways that create positive word of mouth. Then, as they grow (or are acquired), additional layers of process and management are brought in -- often bringing "disciplines" from larger enterprises.

It is tough to successfully transition from a small business to an "enterprise" while still retaining an innovative and open spirit. But it has been done. Look at Google who have done this better than most (criticisms aside).

The Facebook folks should understand the potential of social (and socially-active) media better than anyone. Perhaps we have already reached "Peak Facebook", leaving a gap -- at the right time -- for Open Social. Let's see.

Unknown said...

@gavin heaton: nice comment.

another phenomenon we see is the 'refocus' on the customer where large companies realize they need that lost entrepreneurial recognition of their customers in order to maintain market share or realize lost profitability. I would cite Dell and the mid-90's Apple as companies that forgot about customer value and then remembered it again. Countless companies forgot and never re-remembered.
The road to profit cannot bypass customer value, and it seems Facebook is taking away a fundamental element of their value (the opt-in to cool gizmos & widgets) in order to see profits from Beacon. The market will surely right this ship!

Harry Joiner said...

This has nothing to do with my summer scrape with Facebook, BUT ...

Valeria had a scary video about FB on her site last week, and it made me remove the photos of my kids from my FB profile page. That saddened me, as I think that the entire point of any social network is to "dimensionalize" its members.

You can see Valeria's great post here:


Oh Baby said...

it's the bubble, stupid!

When your company is uber-over-valued you are under serious pressure to start monetizing / milking the cow.

And I think that in big business there was never 1.0 or 2.0 - you really expect Mr. Murdoc to change his life-long attitude because we think life is more beautiful the 2.0 way???

Same with facebook. It's a big-business instinct. Even if personally Mr. Zukenberg 'gets it' (which i don't think he is) can you imagine how much his crew of business consultants pressurize him to start making big money?

Web 2.0 life/business philosophy cannot live, for now, in big business. You can live and breath it if you're Threadless or Etsy but when you'r valued at 15billion it's a totally different game.

Anonymous said...

What most people seem to forget is that there were communities actively sharing, exchanging and collaborating online long before business thought there might be money in the Web. Face it, there is no such thing as Web 2.0, only an evolution of the sophistication of user interface design. If anything, it should be called "Design 2.0" or even "usability 2.0".