I’ve said before that Facebook has pretty much lost it’s relevance for me. Other than old friends, I’ve moved most of my dialogue onto micro-blogging or other such services. On my infrequent returns to Facebook however I’m seeing an interesting trend. It appears that many of the early adopters to Facebook, those who jumped in a couple of years ago and who are also signed up to other social networking, life-streaming and micro-blogging sites, have pretty much stopped using Facebook on a day to day basis.
The interesting thing however is in the middle to late adopters. The people that read about Facebook in the newspaper, or heard about it on radio talkback. These are the people that, rather than seeing Facebook as the next great experiment, see it as a good way to stay in touch. Let’s face it here, some of the stuff that early adopters jump into is very much a case of building it because we can, not because there is any good reason for it (whatever happened to user-centric design).
So I’m seeing a number of friends of the late adopter variety who have been on Facebook for a few months and who are still using it frequently and connecting with more of their ilk.
And maybe this is where first mover advantage comes in. Now I know their where social networking sites before Facebook but I’d argue that Facebook was the first that had a look, feel and function set that attracted the more conservative user. The previous offerings were a little edgy or focused on the youth market. Facebook brought to market a nice, clean offering but most importantly got first mover advantage.
The fact is there is no compelling reason for the middle to late adopters to go anywhere else now – which at the end of the day is the most important strategy that a web 2.0 company can have, make it sufficiently sticky to discourage users for looking elsewhere.