At this moment in internet history, Facebook is a troubled giant. Zuckerberg’s kingdom is undeniably the reigning hegemon of the social media landscape. Nevertheless, as Shakespeare put it, “uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
We’ve all been rubbernecking at the still-litigious train wreck of an IPO. There was a certain schadenfreude in the way the chattering classes piled on when things went wrong for Facebook (often via status update…proving that even the heaviest users have a love-hate relationship with, and perhaps a hidden death wish for, the world’s biggest time-suck).
Most troubling of all, especially now that Facebook has been pushed out of the nest and into the NASDAQ, are ever more frequent analyses showing that Facebook behavior rarely or never translates into financial gain for businesses. What this means for them is ominous. But what does it mean for you? It means adopting a leaner, much more targeted Facebook strategy.
There’s a balance to strike here. If you never update your page, chances are you’ll be unfriended as “dead weight” once the customer gets around to pruning their Facebook presence (the rate at which people do this varies, but most people do get around to it once in a while, taking the time to streamline and simplify what shows up on their profile) If you’re showing up on their News Feed more than a few times a week, on the other hand, chances are good the user will find this obnoxious and consider you a spammer. With all the media bombarding us each day, cognitive space is becoming a precious resource for the average person, and one less thing to notice can be a relief.
Social media, by their nature, simply combine technological gimmicks with the natural ebb and flow of human interaction. A platform like Facebook is not just a service, it’s a party. And the thing about parties is that, eventually, people go home. The crowd moves on, as they did with Friendster, Livejournal, Myspace, etc. Facebook is painfully aware of this risk and is constantly adapting to avoid it, but it remains to be seen if Facebook has cracked this problem long-term, establishing some kind of critical mass that makes it “too big to fail.” They’d like you to think so, but I’m not so sure.
Diversify your social media strategy. Take time to reevaluate what’s working, how things have changed, and what potential lies ahead. Be careful how much time and energy you invest in one social network just because it’s the biggest. Remember that this ecosystem was invented for college students to gossip and joke with their friends. Facebook is undoubtedly fun and invaluable on a personal level, but questionable in terms of economic opportunity. For businesses used to clear-eyed strategic practices, it remains a vague new world.
This Content is Currency post is brought to you by Lauren Bailey, a freelance blogger who loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. As an education writer, she works to research and provide sound online education advice and welcomes comments and questions via email at firstname.lastname@example.org