Saturday, 17 September 2016

Week 2: How To Get Away With Murder (Facebook Edition)

In today's digital age, there are numerous social media sites claiming the time and attention of individuals at every minute, each day. As the top dog, Facebook currently has nearly 1.6 billion active users on its site. 

The top dog position - Facebook (Photo credit:

Emphasis on the word active as we need to understand - at least from a business and/or advertising perspective - what is the point of having the most amount of users, if they aren't on the site at least? *cough* *cough* but I digress...  

With so many competitors hovering in each direction, one needs to wonder how Mark Zuckerberg and his dedicated team was able to achieve such a feat? To answer such a question, I'd make a U-turn back to Friendster.  

"Can give me testy?" "Can I own your picture?" (Photo credit:
Apologies for the cringe-worthy throwback but there is a comparison to be made with Facebook. As the OG for social media, Jonathan Abrams, the founder of Friendster, told it like it is: "(Facebook was a) copycat site of Friendster".    

Back in 2014, Mashable released an interesting article on Abram's side of the story and Friendster's misfortunate downhill spiral of epic forgotten doom... and while it is an empathetic interesting read, there are other factors that require taking note of. Especially so for Abram, when has Nuzzle to focus on now. 

Facebook's Guide to Getting Away with Murder:  

#1: Being popular is the opposite of being sociable
One of the basic tenets of social media, is being social. Duh. But while it seems obvious to say, one of the unfortunate reasons why Friendster died was because of their strong emphasis on media and not being social enough.  

Sure, Friendster was about connecting with friends but apart from increasing our friends count, liking comments, giving hearts and testimonials to our friend's profiles, what else was there? The features just did not reflect that, making Friendster a manifestation of redundancy, focusing on one's own profile appearance.  

For a social networking site to be successful, the focus needs to be on social. We maintain friendships not based on how our friends look, but how much we connect. And Facebook gave us just that with their Newsfeed. Without being truly connected, we're essentially staying "friends" for popularity sake. And what can we actually get with that? #StayWoke  

#2: Free that willy, ditch that rigid pitch
In the Mashable article above, Abram admitted how people thought that Friendster was built on the idea of getting dates. Whether that stands to be true, Friendster mimic that of a dating site by shutting down any profile suspicious of being fake.   

Kudos on your attempts to catch catfishes Abram, but it is this very act of "misbehaving" on the WWW that helped boost Facebook's continued success. (Sorry!) Any rigid philosophy of a website should be used or assumptions of how users will use the site is technically a shot in your own foot (pun intended).  

Where Friendster failed to see, Facebook took it as opportunity to improve on its own site. To put it simply, social media isn't about connecting with other people. It's about connecting in general, on a higher level with interests, current affairs and perhaps animals too. 

(Photo credit:

As Facebook allows for pages, or even groups to be set up for pets, viral parodies, interests (my personal favourite is zodiacsigns by the way) and even for businesses, Mark Zuckerberg was able to set themselves apart from other social media platforms. And of course, another way for us users to waste even more time on our phones and/or electronic devices. Either way, it is a win-win for both Facebook and ourselves -- definitely not complaining at all! 

#3: Give them an inch, not a yard
While we live in a time where individuality and uniqueness matter, Friendster overall layout was pretty much a mess. Given too much freedom, users strive to achieve the "cool" status with their colourful customisable profiles. But man, how annoying was it to click on a page and find music playing.

On the other hand, Facebook allows individuality to a degree. Even though everyone is stuck with the blue-on-white background, we're able to showcase something more than how we like to be viewed; our personalities, interests and cute cat videos. Case in point, what matters is skin-deep.   

#4: Collaborate to be Competitive
I get it, creating a social media networking site is a business after all and not everything needs to be disclosed. But in order to remain competitive, it does not hurt to be collaborative either. Sounds counter-intuitive?   

Sure, but that is exactly what Facebook did. The main goal was to create an identity for itself, something more than just a social networking site. As Zuckerberg would put it, Facebook will be/is THE go-to social networking site. How? By collaborating among third-party apps and other social media sites.   

It is no longer uncommon to see sign-in options with Facebook on other social media platforms (a.k.a Instagram) and gaming apps (a.k.a. Bejeweled Blitz). Even more recently, even acquiring the messaging app, Whatsapp. By doing so, it does not allow itself to be forgotten. We are constantly reminded of Facebook's presence on the Internet, as a social networking site, a brand and an identity.   

But what's the biggest lesson to be learnt? To be adaptable, think fast and act quick or end up like Friendster. #WebMirroringRL

You tried,  #AforEffort? (Photocredit:

No comments:

Post a Comment