Is Social Media ‘Perishable’?

Picture 40Two broadly related articles make me ask the question in the headline. First, TechCrunch reports that according to comScore Facebook has finally caught MySpace in the US. It can now be unequivocally said that Facebook is the largest social network. Does MySpace become the new Friendster — around but limping along? What do you think?

The second piece appeared in iMedia Connection this morning. It argues, audaciously, that Twitter will be obsolete “in a year or less.” Part of the argument is about spam, but also about the fickle nature of audiences in the social media market.

It seems almost impossible to believe that Twitter will be “obsolete” this time next year or that Facebook will take a big fall. However it does seem to be true that “replacement cycles” for online networks are getting shorter.

Do you think Twitter will be on the way out by this time next year? And do you think a potential succcessor to FB will emerge in the near future — or has already emerged? By the same token, do you think that MySpace is now in decline?

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10 Responses to “Is Social Media ‘Perishable’?”

  1. davidsabel Says:

    The biggest threat in terms of user’s attentions will be from vertical social networks as a group – though, that may take a few years to really show an impact. Perhaps FB will lead the way in enabling those interest based networks to get set up.

    I think twittering will be around for a long time, becoming more baked in to sites and applications as a feature. People are really just beginning to grasp the potential.

  2. Tim Cohn Says:

    Great question.

    Social media are perishable to the degree they cease being a utility.

  3. Scott Says:

    First, i think it is important to point out that I think facebook and twitter are quite different. In my opinion, facebook is a utility tool that allows you to keep in contact with friends and acquaintances. twitter on the other hand is a micro-blogging platform that lets you broadcast little pieces of content to whomever is listening. Sure you can meet interesting people and “network” because of the platform, but that is not its main function as is the cast with FB and Myspace and LinkedIn. Now, with that out of the way, I don’t think it matters if either any are relevant in a year. The fact is social networking and micro-blogging are hear to stay and companies that leverage these new mediums and trends will do quite well. Just look at something like Zynga with Mafia Wars. Who cares what “social networking” platform wins…it will leverage them all to make money from the people that are using them. i think its only a matter of time b4 companies create viable business models around leveraging the real-time web and micro-publishing that Twitter platform enables.

  4. Marcos Nobre Says:

    IMHO Facebook will be the last walled-garden social network as we know it. The future will be about interconnected social apps all over the web. Twitter will be part of the infrastructure along Google Wave. Profiles will come mostly from Facebook Connect. MySpace is doomed.

  5. Greg Sterling Says:

    Facebook aspires to be some sort of connective tissue for people across the Internet as well as a walled garden of sorts. See Facebook Connect and maybe it’s payments system.

  6. Jeff Pester Says:

    Little chance that Twitter will be on it’s way out anytime soon – Facebook and MySpace are at their core destinations, Twitter is plumbing. With that in mind I would like that Facebook is ultimately more vulnerable than Twitter.

    On the other hand, MySpace is the new Friendster.

  7. Greg Sterling Says:

    Thanks Jeff

  8. Malcolm Lewis Says:

    Twitter is not going away until something better comes along for consuming/sharing/discovering content in your areas of interest. Ditto FB (but in more of a personal context vs Twitter, IMO).

  9. KevinL. Says:

    MySpace would never have drifted into this mediocrity, this soon, if FOX had not purchased it. It also would never have made the money it did had FOX not had the “old school” business developers with the savvy and acumen necessary to cut such large deals with Google and major production companies.

    Twitter will be replaced, but the big question is whether they stand to benefit from selling to a Facebook now, or later. Unlike MySpace, the rumored buyers for Twitter are still relatively innovative companies. They would stand to benefit the most, if they wait 3 – 4 more months to sell, when their growth stagnates and their value is at their peak. As smart and as lucky as Biz and Ev are, there is only so far these two can take the company.

    While an “old media” company could max out the quick monetary benefits, it will also destroy them much quicker. As long as they don’t sell to an old media company with frustrating corporate bureacracy and slow turnarounds, Twitter could last 2-3 years before another player overtakes them.

    If it’s about money, they should really sell, in my opinion, in no less than 6 months to whomever is the highest bidder.

  10. Greg Sterling Says:

    This question of whether Twitter should sell and when is very interesting. I’ve argued that the company could be profitable and operate as a private company but that the investors won’t let that happen.

    Assuming the company will sell, there is a “sell by” date at some point in the not-too-distant future.

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