In the last few days I’ve heard the death knell being rung for email, that people are abandoning their proven business networking applications, and that Digg will soon be dead.
All this at the hands of a social networking application that less than a year ago was the happy-go-lucky Saturday morning venue of hung over college students?
I see things differently…
The beauty of email is its ubiquity. If Facebook was going to supplant email, that would mean a billion Facebook accounts. Otherwise, people are going to find themselves out of touch at the hands of a closed network. The scenario: I move all my communication to Facebook. You email me and it either bounces, I don’t accept it, or I ignore it. You call me and ask me what gives. I tell you to join Facebook as that is the only way to communicate with me online. You tell me to piss off, because nobody tells you what to do. I miss the message, thereafter.
The same goes for business contacts, particularly when it comes to the sales-minded folks. They are not going to move because you move, and they are not going to move unless all their customers and prospects have already moved. Many of them haven’t even moved online yet – they like their paper rolodex and/or ACT!
I’m hard pressed to find something to say about the whole yummy/Digg bit, because A) I can’t look at the Google Reader/Facebook example Scoble pointed out without looking him up on Facebook, adding him to my friends list, and waiting for approval, B) can’t conceptualize it in my head because I don’t have a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, C) because I am too busy returning email messages from this morning, picking up the fricken phone, writing this blog entry, and consuming a tuna/spinach salad with tasty vine ripened tomatoes, to try reconstructing what Scoble did on my own Facebook page, and D) because I’ve visited Digg roughly four times in my life and don’t care if something “kills” it, particularly if that death requires some effort on my part.
I think Facebook is headed in a different direction anyway. They don’t need to stay closed, risk user over-reliance, or start killing off the competition. AOL already tried this. The app this and app that is just a stepping stone, lifted by others. It’s a proving grounds for truly useful tools, yet to be delivered but likely to come from the brick and mortar world. Wrapped in the privacy and security Facebook already offers, attracting the mainstream userbase Facebook can leverage into a valuation that is less loft and more foundation.
UPDATE: Are those piling on the Facebook ad performance issue simply doing so because they’ve become so attuned to advertising as the sole revenue driver of the web that they can’t think beyond it?