Is it, or isn’t it? Has social networking “jumped the shark”? According to this article, the first sign that the apocalypse is upon us is the fact that the Girl Scout cookies have their own MySpace page (who knew that they were female and 90 years old??).
The question is whether the introduction of commercial messages to places like MySpace and Facebook is turning users off and “ruining” the platform. Full disclosure: we’ve done a couple of social media marketing projects that have involved MySpace pages (and will be doing more in the near future).
It may therefore not surprise you to learn that I don’t think over-commercialization is an issue, but I hope you’ll agree with my simple reasoning: if it is boring, they will not come. If you make a commercial page, and it does not have interesting content, and no one goes there and no one links to it (I am presuming you’re not spamming people with friend requests), it will wither and die silently, taking all your marketing dollars with it. How could such a non-event ruin a social networking site?
This is part of the beauty of social media – that users can pick and choose the messages they wish to ingest. It’s the democratization of advertising, if you will – if your communication sucks (as much of it does, so you’d better shape up), it will not win the attention election.
Don’t lump Facebook in with MySpace. MySpace died a long time ago. Facebook has taken off in Canada in the last 12-18 months. It’s not the be-all, end-all, but Facebook is actually connecting and reconnecting people.
Plus, it hasn’t been polluted by advertisers and marketers. Yet.
You make a good point though: if the content sucks, you’re dead. True, but the lesson shouldn’t be “don’t make bad content” – the lesson should be “unless you’re being authentic, you’re dead.” And in my estimation, the reason MySpace has died to my generation is because nobody authentic is there anymore-they’ve migrated to Facebook.
Hey, this is worrisome news for many bloggers, marketers and users alike out there. But I do have to say this:
* Let’s consider that the main user base for this sites are young people (some of them starting at age 12 going up to the early 20’s).
* Young people (personal experience, I’m 22) are able to block off unwanted advertising messages in an easier way than adults from other generations. We’re so used to living with ads that although it might bother us every now and then we can live with them, use them when we need to and hate them when we don’t.
If there is a social networking backlash and demise, I don’t think advertising and marketing are the sole causes of it. They might be playing some role, but we should see deeper into it.