Apr 19, 2011 - web    1 Comment

Facebook… a social or communications platform?

Last week I got upgraded to Facebook’s new messaging system. So this means I have my own facebook email and get updates via text in addition to chat.

facebook email and sms setttingsMany speculators have suggested that Facebook’s new messaging system is the gmail killer while other says it’s just another version of Google Wave. Facebook, on the other hand, claims that it is the “next generation messaging system” compared to the slow and formal conventional messging systems like Gmail and Hotmail.

What does this mean in terms of communication and socialising?

This means that Facebook intends to be the number 1 platform for socialising and communicating

This has been amply demonstrated when Facebook launched the chat system, a popular online social activity. All your friends are on facebook, so there’s no need to get a messenger to communicate. A desktop application would be welcome though. Prior to the chat launch on Facebook, everybody was using somekind of messenger as in Yahoo and Hotmail, etc.

This means that Facebook does not intend to let other startups and new platforms enter the social space

This was demonstrated with the launch of “status updates” and “places” to counter act twitter and foursquare respectively. I sincerely believe that foursquare would have been a lot bigger if Facebook had not launched “places”. Facebook is playing the power game and it’s power is the database of users it possesses. All your friends are on Facebook so why migrate to another platform and invite your friends there when the service is available on Facebook. If however the service would not have been available, then there would have been a genuine case for migrating and inviting your friends to another platform.

This is precisely what Facebook are counteracting. I doubt that any future ventures in the social space would be fruitful as Facebook would create something similar to literally kill you off and prevent its users from migrating. It’s the big fish eating the smaller fish so that it remains the big one.

This means that Facebook will be adopted by a much older age group

By launching email, Facebook will add a much older age group to its userbase. Email is a conventional means of communication and very often we tend to forget the email addresses of friends but with Facebook, you don’t need to remember addresses if the person is on Facebook.


What next?

Facebook has already built itself as the number one social platform. It has got the best user information and behaviour (activities and interests) than any other platform in the world.

If Facebook plans to be the number one communication and messaging platform, I would not be surprised if in the future they launch something similar to Skype. If they do so, then without doubt they are looking to be a social communications platform.