Thursday, January 3, 2013

What pending Facebook's eclipse of Internet means to us

Check out Vincos Blog tracking world map of social networks.  It shows the past few years trend as Facebook becoming the de facto standard social network globally.  Only countries where Facebook is not the number one social network by activity are mostly places where geo-political issues are preventing the open network access, China, Russia and Iran.

Facebook Blue is spreading.
One exception? South Korea.
Will South Korea be the harbinger of life after Facebook?

What does this mean to enterprise?

It means that enterprise must get ready to provide Facebook-like collaboration network.  Thanks to Facebook educating 1 billion social networking users, friending to subscribe to status updates, liking a page to keep up with product updates and commenting on a post in real-time have all become the fabric of how we network with our friends all over the world.

Unlike previous generations trained to work with emails, tomorrow's workers will expect and demand a way to collaborate in real-time and while on the move just as they have come to expect with Facebook user experience.  They know what it feels like to use the right tool to communicate without getting bogged down by multiple copies of the same data.

But I don't see Facebook replacing other forms of communication network like email or IM, especially professional communication.  Why?  That's because Facebook is primarily used as personal social network.

Although Facebook would like to maximize users' sharing their updates, people still think of Facebook as personal messaging network.  Even though Facebook offers all the features that can be used for business purpose, social norm molds how the users are using Facebook.  People don't use Facebook to do professional networking and business collaboration.  I am sure Facebook is well aware of this, and think Facebook has an option to branch into lucrative enterprise collaboration space under another brand.

Another point to ponder is that Facebook is at its peak.  It's difficult to imagine geo-political situation changing in China, Russia and Iran anytime soon, and this means Facebook has claimed its number one spot in most countries.  This leaves only one possibility for Facebook: diminishing active user base.

If you look at the Vincos' world map of social networks closely, you'll notice that there is one notable exception to waxing influence of Facebook.  It is South Korea where Facebook ceded its number one spot to QZone (I couldn't explain why Chinese QZone will generate the most activity; perhaps some South Korean readers can shed lights?).  Facebook will have to battle other social networks to stay relevant.

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