Thursday, September 29, 2011

Everything new is old again

I've paid far too little attention to the recent Facebook changes, given that I'm not only a regular Facebook user but a PR/marketing professional. Like a lot of people, I'm annoyed by what often appears to be change for change's sake on the part of the Facebook.

Then again, I'm not Facebook's customer, and neither is any other individual user -- just like I'm not the customer of the traditional media I consume, like The New York Times. Facebook's customers are its advertisers, and the people like you and me who use it to post pictures of our kids and let their friends know that they are watching Dancing with the Stars are the product. Facebook is selling our attention to its advertisers. Social media may seem revolutionary, but its business model -- Farmville aside -- is not really so different.

So as my boss astutely hypothesized, each of Facebook's changes, however grating to users, are likely done with an eye to increasing the site's value to advertisers. Sure, some are meant to enhance the user experience, particularly in the face of fierce competition from Google +. Facebook can't afford to lose us, but let's face it: most of us aren't walking away, at least not yet. We've simply invested too much time poking each other.

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