Has Facebook lost its cool?
A few weeks ago I came across a truly brilliant blog on Mashable http://mashable.com/2012/08/14/facebook-annoying/, bemoaning the noticeable growing trend of irritating users on Facebook that have grabbed the attention of others due to their annoying posting habits and behaviour.
While these sentiments and humorous findings raised in the blog mirrored my own opinions, I particularly enjoyed the sections about vaguebooking, unsolicited check-ins and the dreadful over sharing of new parents, force-feeding constant updates about how ‘wonderfully darling’ their little cherubs are. It was while reading this excellent blog that it occurred to me, the entire dynamic of Facebook as we know it has changed.
What began as a trendy and private online meeting place for Harvard campus students has become diluted by businesses, fan pages, spam, parents and even grandparents!
This isn’t by any means Facebook’s fault; they expanded exponentially when success first hit and more power to them for that. However, the thing they have sacrificed is the thing that got them noticed in the first place, coolness.
Trendsetting teenagers who first joined Facebook in the mid to tail end of the 2000’s, posting about parties, nights out and gigs, are now in their mid twenties posting about buying houses, baby scans and those damn song lyric poets that pollute all of our respective newsfeeds. So how has this happened? What has turned the once fashionable Facebook, from the exclusive invite-only social meeting ground, to the Jeremy Kyle loving, baby discussing turn off that it has become?
Regrettably as with anything that is all the rage and underground, it is only a matter of time before Joe Public becomes interested in all the hype and jumps on the bandwagon and rides it until the wheels fall off (Static Major reference anyone?). Facebook became so popular so fast, that everyone wanted a slice of the Zuckerberg cake. During its infancy people even began to use the term “I will Facebook you” as a way of contacting one another. Facebook was as cool as the other side of the pillow.
Sadly it was only a matter of time before that new fun and excitement died down and other social platforms sprang up looking to ride the coattails of Facebook’s success. However it was the creation of rival social media platform Twitter that has seemingly found what Facebook has lost, coolness.
Facebook vs. Twitter
Twitter is now arguably superseding Facebook in terms of relevance, coolness and curiosity. Twitter is now so important and so influential to today’s society that hashtags are used on the biggest of TV shows, from The X Factor to world sporting events. People who have no interest in social media are now being encouraged to ‘join in the conversation’ on Twitter via hashtags appearing on their favourite Saturday night TV. Facebook is now for people to talk about what HAS happened, yet Twitter is for people to talk about what IS happening.
Facebook’s lack of up to date news and information only lends itself to the theory that Facebook is an enclosed social bubble for you and your friends, where Twitter seems to be able to manage your friends and the outside world equally. Because of this, success is following Twitter (pun intended, sorry!).
Personally, I go on Facebook to see friends and family holiday photos etc, whereas I go on Twitter for everything else. Twitter is also a much more open social media platform where 99% of the time you can see anyone’s tweets, at anytime. While obviously and correctly Facebook has privacy constraints in place to protect user information, this doesn’t help Facebook against the wave of interest that Twitter has been riding for some time now.
Alas it appears that Facebook has become safe and dull, where Twitter is still an edgy and fun micro-blogging information resource. The question has been asked before, can Facebook and Twitter coexist? In short, yes. Both are extremely different platforms that can be used for different functions. However, in this still new technological age where everyone wants to know everything yesterday, Twitter will only get bigger and cooler.
This is by no means an anti Facebook blog nor is it a pro Twitter blog, this is simply an assumption that Facebook which was once all anyone was talking about, has faded into Twitters background. Sure I will continue to spend as much time on Facebook as I do Twitter, and sure I will still become pedantically annoyed at vaguebookers and motorway check-ins (seriously, they happen). But the fact of the matter is, due to lack of exciting new features and a lack of va-va-voom, Facebook isn’t as cool as it thinks it is anymore.
These days Facebook is standing outside its old high school with a leather jacket on, smoking a rolled up cigarette. Twitter on the other hand, is hanging out in the VIP area with a bottle of the finest bubbly.
So what, if anything, can Facebook do to get its mojo back? Join Twitter.