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« Turning TV Placements Into Fan Engagement: Lessons From Mr. Robotic – In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Episode X - Part 2 | Main | 10 Pieces of Essential Content For Your Band's Website »
Tuesday
Mar292011

The Facebook Dilemma: "New" Media, Just Like the "Old" Media

What’s Not To Like? You can’t live without it.

And you can’t live with it, either.

In the past week, if you have been trying to access the Facebook page for The 1861 Project and wonder why you keep winding up at your own homepage, I have a tale of woe for you.  Bear with me here, it’s a bit of a shaggy dog story…

Two weeks ago I created a Facebook “Fan” page for The 1861 Project. Within the “page,” I added some features using a service called DamnTheRadio (DTR), which adds audio and video to a Facebook page, along with the option to lock some of the content behind the “Like” button.

One of the essential features of the “DamnTheRadio” installation is the ability to set DTR as the “default tab” for a first time visitor. When the “default tab” is set to DTR, a first time visitor to the page is greeted with the music that we want them to hear - not the familiar “wall” of links and comments that identify the typical Facebook page. This way, first time visitors to a page see the “music” tab, where they can listen to some of the music; If they want to hear more all they have to do is click “Like,” and all the rest of the content and features of the page are unlocked.

At first, everything went swimmingly. Visitors started to “Like” the page the minute we made it public. But then Facebook pulled the rug out from under us.

About 10 days ago I was informed that Facebook, in its infinite, benevolent — and, apparently, irreversible — wisdom, had decided that our “Fan” page was actually a “Community” page. There was no explanation for the involuntary re-categorization. Nor was there any recourse offered, other than a link that said “if you think this reassignment was made in error, click here…” That was not an link back to the original configuration, but a way to submit a request to get the original settings restored.

At first I did not think too much of the change. It looked like the page was performing precisely as it had before the involuntary change. But then I started to notice one mission-critical difference: I could no longer set the “default tab” for first time visitors to the page.

I did not fully grasp what was happening until the good folk at DamnTheRadio (just recently a subsidiary of the FanBridge e-mail service) — whose excellent customer service typically responds to user inquiries within just a few hours - explained to me that Facebook, again in their infinite, benevolent — and apparently arbitrary and capricious — wisdom, had eliminated the “set default tab” feature, but only for “Community” pages!

In other words, for reasons unforeseen and unknowable, Facebook had a) changed the category of my page and b) consequently disabled what I regarded as the single most important feature of the page.

By the time this realization fully dawned on me, our page had a total of 83 followers (“Like”rs?). When setting up a Facebook page, another protocol Facebook enforces will only allow changes to a page configuration if it has fewer than 100 followers. Once that number is reached, the configuration becomes etched in digital stone. So I felt compelled to make a command decision to “hide” the page, making it visible only to its administrators, lest 83 quickly become 100+ and even the chance of any recourse being eliminated altogether.

So if you have tried to visit this page over the past week and wondered why you keep winding up at your own Facebook home page instead, that’s why.

I had to lock the page down in order to buy time, fully realizing that the best I could do was sit here and wait and hope - that there was someway to get Facebook to un-fix that which was not broken to begin with. And that’s where the real fun begins….

The End of The “Level Playing Field” ?

Have you ever tried to actually contact anybody at Facebook to tell them you have a problem? Well, good-fucking-luck with THAT.

I was pretty much beside myself once I realized what was going on — not only because I had put a lot of time and effort into getting this page to work the way I wanted it to — but because I know full well that there is no user support whatsoever from Facebook. There is no e-mail address, no ticket system, nor any way of contacting anybody at Facebook if you have a problem with their service. I guess that’s just the way it goes when you are only one of a half-billion users. That’s a lotta people to have to offer technical support for a “free” service.

So I did the only thing I knew to do… I started posting rants on Twitter. And I called a couple of colleagues who are somewhat more savvy than I about the inner workings of Facebook.

One such colleague had already been designated a co-administrator of the now problematic page. And, as luck would have it, the first time she accessed the page as an admin, she was greeted by the same “we’ve changed you page…” notice that I had ignored a week earlier. That much seemed like a bit of good luck. But following the link in the notice, she was greeted by a form that asked myriad questions about why we thought the page should be switched back to what it originally was from what Facebook had made it. And even as she was filling out the forms, my despondence was unavoidable: “yeah, great,” she caught me whining, “we’ll send that off to Facebook and there’s no telling if or when we’ll ever hear back from them…”

Unfortunately, I was right about that. We submitted that request a week ago and, true to form, we have not heard back. Not a peep.

But all is not entirely lost. The next day one of my Twitter rants landed on wiling ears. Sometime late Thursday I received a direct message from one of my followers who wrote “I have a Facebook in. What are you trying to do?”

Well now, that was another encouraging turn of events. But the issue was more than I could explain in a 140 character reply, and we spent most of the next day missing each other by phone and it was not until sometime Saturday that I was able to convey the issue sufficiently that he could then send an e-mail to something called “Facebook VIP Support.”

Click Here for Facebook Technical Support That was nearly five days ago, and still, here we sit, waiting to see if the authorities at Facebook can be bothered to undo the damage they did to my page. But, apparently, Facebook is… faceless.

Somewhere in the midst of our e-mail and Twitter exchange, this friend shared the kernel of information that has turned on all the warning lights for me. After I expressed my continuing frustration with the experience - and my surprise to learn that there is such a thing as a “VIP Support” window at Facebook - my friend informed me that “VIP means >10k fans.”

In other words, if you have a Facebook page that has at least 10,000 fans, then you can get somebody at Facebook to pay attention when you run into an issue. My Twitter friend works for a major record label, and all that label’s artists probably have more than 10,000 fans. So HIS company gets “VIP Support.”

And so, as the digital blob called Facebook marches on in its quest to absorb the entire Internet, you can kiss your “level playing field” goodbye. If you have sufficient resources to muster 10,000 fans, Facebook is at your service. But if you are a ground-level, grass-roots start-up enterprise that is thinking you can use Facebook to find your audience… you are on your own.

The reality of “Social Media” is the reality of the macro economy: the rich just keep getting richer.

New Media, Same as the Old Media

The end of the level playing field is just the beginning of the digital disillusionment that the Global Domination of Facebook portends. Thanks to Zuckerberg and Co. - it suddenly dawns on me - the the whole idea of “new media” is now officially toast.

There has been rhetorical inside joke running among my digerati friends in recent weeks, the observation that “new media” has been around long enough now that it no longer qualifies as “new.” But that is not the only reason that there is no such thing as “new media.”

What I have described here is part and parcel of the Facebook user experience. You and I… we are the users of Facebook. But we are not Facebook’s customers. Facebook’s actual customers are the people and companies with “>10K fans” — i.e. the businesses that are most likely to further increase their visibility by buying those little ads that are precisely targeted across Facebook’s bazillion daily pages.

That’s why you can’t get any help if you run into a problem, even one that Facebook has created for you. We, the half-billion “friends” on Facebook, are not its customers. We are only its fodder. And fodder does not get user support.

Long before there was a video camera in every cell phone, there were Sony Port-PaksBack in the dark ages of the mid-to-late 20th century - before the Internet, before cable TeeVee even, when I was in college and terrorizing the countryside with the first portable video cameras, I learned something fundamental  about the business of broadcasting. The lesson goes like this:

As much as we may love (or love to hate) radio or television programming, the business of broadcasting is NOT to deliver that programming to the audience. The business of broadcasting is to deliver the audience…. to the advertiser.

And in that regard Facebook, for all of it’s vaunted “new media” pretense, for all of its “social networking” facade, is no different from the radio and television systems of the previous century. When it comes down to how they conduct their business, the “new media” are pretty much just like the “old” media.

Facebook’s customers — the people and businesses who pay its bills and apparently give it an eleven-figure (as in tens-of-billions) market capitalization — are not the multitudes who spend all day posting their whimsical ‘status updates’ and compromising photos of their shit-faced friends. Facebook’s customers are the advertisers — the people and companies who pay for the sponsored links that appear in the sidebar on the right hand side of every page you look at on Facebook. Those photos of your shit-faced friends are just a way to sell them more beer.

The way we use these “new media” may be different. It may be less ‘passive’ than broadcasting. And there may be an infinite array of things to read, watch, and listen to. But that is a distinction without a difference. The essential hierarchy, the critical model of “users delivered to advertisers” remains intact. There is nothing new under even the digital sun.

GINO: Genius In Name OnlFor all his vaunted genius, technical prowess, and supposed ‘vision’, not even Zuckerberg can come up with a genuinely new business model.

But even as Facebook’s quest to swallow the web reaches fruition, we might get some sense of how this ends: Facebook is not the first web service to follow this path. Remember MySpace? MySpace operated in precisely the same manner. It got users to post information about themselves under the pretext of ‘social networking,’ and then handed those users and their vital data over to advertisers. It was not until those users began to grasp the full extent of their exploitation - in the form of an inferior user experience that was easily superseded by a new kid on the block called Facebook - that MySpace began its inevitable decline.

One wonders how long it will be before Facebook’s users come to the same realization, and move along to the next shiny digital object on the horizon that offers the same promise of a “new model” that is, again, just like the old model.

* * * *

And now a full week has passed, and nothing has changed with the page that Facebook fucked up. A week is enough time to conclude that Facebook does not giving a flying flip about its rank and file users. We will go back to being quiet fodder now, and I have restored the Facebook page for The 1861 Project. Please join us there. Facebook issues not withstanding, the music is really quite outstanding.

Paul Schatzkin has been active in digital music since founding Songs.com in 1995. He now operates a music management and digital services company, CohesionArts.com.

Reader Comments (27)

I am waiting for Facebook to be replaced with something else. It will be. Every form of online communication gets replaced by something else. I've been online heavily since 1993 and I've seen BBSs, usenet groups, mailing lists, online bulletin boards, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. There's relatively little user loyalty to any of them. The early adopters move to whatever is new, and once there is a critical mass, others shift over. Eventually everyone is there and the early adopters move on to something else and the entire process repeats itself.

I especially don't like that Facebook wants to run everything online through it. It wants to be our primary communication tool, our primary news source, our primary marketing vehicle. And it also wants to control how we get all that information.

Yes, I use Facebook, but I can't wait until we all move on to the "next new thing."

thanks for this.great article.i can only sign this.facebook has a hateful and cynical attiutude towards it's users.

March 29 | Unregistered Commenterbrm

Suzanne: my feeling is that if you're unhappy with it, don't use it and wait for the next thing to come along.

If you do want to use it, then you better put that good effort in, because I think it's going to be a while before 'the next new thing' comes along. Even when Myspace was popular, people still hated using it. This holds true for most IT systems and content management software in general.

As for the rant above - surely it could've been edited down to the most essential info. We know that Facebook is difficult to deal with, what are the lessons we can learn? How can we view the situation from a more productive lens?

March 29 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Tunes

This is certainly a rant. The lesson here is you have to watch how much you depend on 3rd parties. Whether it's fair or not, they own the platform. They built it, and you're just a participant. Your power in the equation is whether or not you decide to use the platform or leave it. So don't plan your entire strategy in a way that kills your business if you have to jump ship (or if they mess things up, like in this article).

The music business has a horrible history with this. Radio, physical retail, MTV - all of these things had been the primary platforms marketing and distribution channels for music for decades. The artists, labels, publishers, etc. don't own any of them. They didn't plan for change. And they suffered greatly when things did change.

Your band is more than a Facebook page. Always think of new ways to connect so you can be flexible when a platform isn't working for you.

March 29 | Registered CommenterBand 101

Facebook automatically created a page for my business, but I can't access it. When I submitted my info to claim it as my own, 3 months later they responded telling me that they will not be approving me for admin FOR MY OWN BUSINESS. No explanation, just a link to the 'help' page; which doesn't really explain anything different.

March 29 | Unregistered CommenterErik Peterson

Suzanne: my feeling is that if you're unhappy with it, don't use it and wait for the next thing to come along.

Well, though I'm not hugely fond of Twitter either, I found it to be better for business purposes, so I no longer use Facebook for business networking. Similarly, as Facebook continues to do questionable things with my info, I keep deleting more and more of it. So I am removing stuff from Facebook more than I am adding it.

Basically I now just use Facebook to see what a few friends are doing. I quit looking for people to add to my list of Facebook friends (I used to proactively add people as they popped in my "Friends You May Know" section, but now I never look at it anymore). I haven't signed off entirely, but I am transferring activities elsewhere as I find better options. For that matter, I haven't deleted my account on MySpace, but I never sign in anymore. I rarely stop using any site abruptly. I just lose interest in it.

Yesterday I got the same spam/malware video in my Facebook newsfeed from 8 different people. I marked each one as spam so it would disappear. That's usually when the decline starts -- when the spam/noise ratio starts noticeably increasing. Once an online form of communication becomes popular enough to attract spam and malware, people grow tired of the battle and move on.

Face book is nice but I tend to use it more for the apps.

March 29 | Unregistered CommenterXellon100

Facebook potential replacement ..... https://joindiaspora.com/

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterCoop

Yes, it most certainly is a rant, and perhaps could have been pared down to more essential elements.

After I published the original post to my own website, I did have several after thoughts, along the lines of what Band 101 and others say here - that given the difficulty of dealing with "third party" and external sites, the maintenance of your own web site as the "hub" of your web presence is indispensable.

The problem is that given the contours of the digital landscape today a site that should be one of the spokes of your hub - in this case, Facebook - is the spoke that has swallowed the wheel, the car, and most of the road. The unavoidable fact is that right now, Facebook is where the people are. That is what makes it so regrettable that Facebook's interface is so user unfriendly, and their disregard for the user experience so confounding.

And yes, Suzanne, someday there will probably be something else. Or maybe not. I mean, Amazon is still dominant in its space after what, going on 15 years now? But that is in part because Bezos and Co. pay unrelenting attention to the user experience and have done a remarkable job of creating the "happy path" to user satisfaction. If Facebook cannot learn a similar lesson, then they are certainly vulnerable on their flank. Only time will tell whether or not their days are numbered.

Thank you all for your time and attention. I appreciate the feedback.

--PS

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterPaul S.

I think this is just another example of why musicians should not put so much dependance on social media. Having your own space that you own on the internet is so important, mostly for reasons like this.

I think feeling that you have the right to make third party sites bend to your will is extremely naive. When you signed up for Facebook and created a page, you agreed to Facebook's terms and services and there's even a clause that says the terms and services can change at any time and you're still agreeing to them. Sure, no one reads that right now, but it is something to be aware of.

Certainly, it's not fair, either, but that's the price of using something that's free. If Facebook charged for pages, that would be different, but they don't. It's just a free service we all use and we can't depend on it for doing business, I believe.

I do agree with the complete lack of customer support on Facebook. I have ranted about that myself from time to time. But again, if you're not paying for the service, real support probaby shouldn't be expected.

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Burks

I don't think it was a rant. it was way to articulate and valid to be labelled as such. For those who wanted it cut down to the 'important' elements, either buy the Brodie's Notes version or stick to informing yourself via Twitter. Not all of us have cyber induced ADHD and still enjoy a good read, which this was.

Sorry for your pain (believe me, I empathise, when iOSX 4 was released the entire iPhone version of our website and the hours spent building it was destroyed... so cheers there Apple... we've replaced it with a 'use a desktop' message... fuck 'em) but nice essay.

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterEyeSeeSound

Facebook is just another tool which we can use to promote our landing pages. The most important thing is to have our own personal page which serves our musical interests and is under our control.

Remember those days of Geocities?

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterAl

I have a facebook page, but don't RELY on it. There is always a dragon to slay when it comes to Music and musicians. Back in the 80's it was the Radio Stations... 90's it was MTV. Just think of it, you feel 'wronged' by a totally voluntary website that you put your information into in hopes of gaining more access to more people. Like it or not, that is what it boils down to. Dave Matthews didn't have Facebook, neither did the Doors, Rolling Stones or Beethoven. Find a way to hit the streets and get the music to the people, but more importantly, win the hearts and minds of the people so THEY are your own "Facebook".

I've often thought about how Amazon has remained dominant while many other online companies have not. I think part of it has to do with the idea that Amazon invested money in physical assets that aren't easily duplicated. They have a shipping/warehousing operation that other companies can't replicate overnight.

But online communication/community sites don't seem to have the same long-term domination. The way I look at it, any company that can quickly come in and take over from a competitor can itself be taken over just as quickly.

Also, in Amazon's case, there are money issues. People have learned to trust it as place to order items. When it offers competitive prices, fast shipping, quality products, and price comparisons among different sellers, there's not much reason to go elsewhere. In the case of Twitter, Facebook, etc., it's free and competitors are free, so you don't risk much by experimenting. Yes, you have built up a network of people on these sites, but look at how much time many people spent investing in MySpace, and yet many users have migrated to Facebook (though not necessarily for music -- MySpace still has advantages over Facebook for that, but it's primarily because Facebook doesn't offer the same flexibility of site design).

Facebook, if anything, has a lousy record for trust and I think that will hurt them. I certainly don't trust the company. For example, they asked for my phone number "for security purposes" and then published it in my contact information on my Facebook page without my permission. I didn't even know it had happened until I looked and saw in in my contact info and I hadn't put it there. I deleted it, but I remember thinking, "They didn't tell me they would do that and they didn't ask my permission to make that information public."

I've often thought about how Amazon has remained dominant while many other online companies have not. I think part of it has to do with the idea that Amazon invested money in physical assets that aren't easily duplicated. They have a shipping/warehousing operation that other companies can't replicate overnight.

But online communication/community sites don't seem to have the same long-term domination. The way I look at it, any company that can quickly come in and take over from a competitor can itself be taken over just as quickly.

Also, in Amazon's case, there are money issues. People have learned to trust it as place to order items. When it offers competitive prices, fast shipping, quality products, and price comparisons among different sellers, there's not much reason to go elsewhere. In the case of Twitter, Facebook, etc., it's free and competitors are free, so you don't risk much by experimenting. Yes, you have built up a network of people on these sites, but look at how much time many people spent investing in MySpace, and yet many users have migrated to Facebook (though not necessarily for music -- MySpace still has advantages over Facebook for that, but it's primarily because Facebook doesn't offer the same flexibility of site design).

Facebook, if anything, has a lousy record for trust and I think that will hurt them. I certainly don't trust the company. For example, they asked for my phone number "for security purposes" and then published it in my contact information on my Facebook page without my permission. I didn't even know it had happened until I looked and saw it in my contact info and I hadn't put it there. I deleted it, but I remember thinking, "They didn't tell me they would do that and they didn't ask my permission to make that information public."

I quit FB in June of last year, don't miss it at all. I recently tried to do just a fan page, for friends and fans who are on there, and had a similar experience to Paul.

In this day and age, people who want to find me can google me and land on my site. My email and phone # are on there.

I'm getting to the place where maybe it's time to return to phone calls and meetings for coffee. good old fashioned email is much more appealing than social media to me right now, to much hassle!

Thanks for the post and the comments, it's nice to know i'm not the only one!

Mark Cool

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterMark Cool

Wait and hope it works out...https://joindiaspora.com/

March 30 | Unregistered CommenterRoymond

If you and your friends use Macs, you can create your own private social network with DropBox using an app called Frenzy http://frenzyapp.com. I haven't tried it yet but looks pretty nifty (disclosure: I'm not affiliated with DropBox or Frenzy).

March 31 | Unregistered CommenterDaniele Rossi

To those of you who think Facebook is just going to go fade away at some point in the foreseeable future, why do you think this? Facebook continues to grow and has more or less "won" its place as an internet mainstay along with companies like Google.

This is because Facebook, better than any other user-friendly website, won the race to be the place where people are "themselves" on the internet. You don't need to have some ulterior motive or business or venture or identity. If you're a human with a computer, you can make full use of Facebook. And how many sites are you going to invest the time (and trust) in to post your normal photos, talk about your regular life, coordinate your social life... the answer is probably none. One social media site to rule them all. This was a prize that someone (myspace, friendster) was going to win eventually. And its huge. The point is that for the average person, Facebook is their internet ID card, and there's no reason to switch to something else.

I predict that it will be replaced, or face equal competition as the standard in social media around the same time that Microsoft and windows is replaced as the standard in software. To most people, Windows is simply "the computer". To a large extent, Facebook is trying and succeeded to be "the internet."

This is not a good thing for 1,000 reasons, not the least of which is the conformity that it produces (I hope you're band likes the colors blue and white a lot). The only chance for the internet to stay free and for musicians to be able to control their own work effectively on-line is for trend that promotes everyone having their own WWW to take over. Unfortunately, the logistics of that are much harder than just getting an email and signing up for facebook.

So you don't have to use facebook. You don't need to learn to like it. I sure don't. But if you're just counting on it fading away like myspace or getting knocked from its perch like AOL, I think you're in very a pretty long wait.

April 1 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

There was a time when AOL was dominant. As I mentioned, I've watched online communities come and go for 18 years. They get replaced, and relatively quickly. I'm seeing a lot more spam on Facebook, and that's usually the first stage in what ends up being a significant exodus. Once everyone is there, that attracts problems and people grow tired of it and leave. Musicians are especially at risk. Anyone remember when MP3.com disappeared almost overnight? And look what has happened to MySpace. It's still useful as an EPK, but it's not much in terms of a community. YouTube probably has the most long-term usefulness for musicians. It doesn't try to be all things to all people, but works well as a place to upload your videos.

Suzanne, I've watched online communities change as well. Facebook is not an "online community." There is no niche, no uniting idea bringing "like-minded" people together. Its a place to have a personal webpage on the internet that is about nothing other than you, the human. LinkdIn is about you, the skilled worker. Myspace is about you in 2007, the last time you friended someone before saying "fuck this terrible website." And... what else is there? Bebo? Whats that?

Nor is it a walled garden like AOL was. Back in 08, maybe it looked that way, but Facebook has been quite good at getting its "like" and "share" links attached to everything on the web. It may have a little bit of increasing spam, but they've always valued speed and cleanliness in their presentation, in notable contrast to myspace, so I would wager that they are making management of that a high priority.

More people have made more of a personal investment and shared more on Facebook than any other place on the internet, ever. Its really quite unprecedented. People are comfortable there, and I don't think they are going to want to migrate, because the majority of facebook users are people who are unfamiliar with the idea of "migrating" to one website over another. And when if they dod, they would want to make sure that all their facebook photos and whatnot come with them.

Youtube is there, but it seems happy to be a content host more so than an identity provider. I would agree with you that its actually a more useful tool for musicians than Facebook is.

Of course I could be wrong about all this, but I see the level of personal sharing\investment that totally average folks are putting in to Facebook, and I really don't see how this empire is going to crumble any time soon.

April 1 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

Facebook is striving to be a walled community in its way by hoping to own all the people on it and to have everything they do, watch, read, and buy run through Facebook. It wants to be the Internet.

But it doesn't really matter what I say. People will put in the time on Facebook for now. If something else comes along and they then migrate, so be it. If not, then everything stays like it has been. Personally I think someone who is still in high school or college right now will launch something before long that will catch on amongst the next group of "cool kids" and off we'll go again. Facebook will be perceived as a big dinosaur and people will lose interest in having an account there.

Did you know that Droids are now starting to upstage iPhones? I'm not sure that was predicted a few years ago. Change can happen pretty rapidly these days.

As an admin of a Facebook page with 50K+ likes this is the first time I hear of this "VIP customer service". Last year fb in it's infinite wisdom decided to remove our page as offensive - I eventually found a form to submit a complain, but that went ignored until traditional media started reporting on the story. After that our page was returned.

Since then there have been several similar incidents in our country. Seems that pages in a language other than English are easy to get removed by making false complaints about inappropriate content.

It's easy to say one shouldn't depend on fb, but it's a lot harder to do in reality. You can stay off Facebook, but then you can kiss goodbye to a lot of traffic and interaction. And it seems that with the new Facebook comments the site is becoming even more important part of you average person's online life.

"Facebook is striving to be a walled community in its way by hoping to own all the people on it and to have everything they do, watch, read, and buy run through Facebook." - That is not a walled community. A walled community in online terms means that its functionality only extends to its borders. Facebook has succeeded in making itself ubiquitous. I can't tell you how many times I've been reading an article or something online, and it ends asking me, JUSTIN, to share it on facebook. The fact that facebook wants to control people's info is a big problem, but not a reflection of a "wall" - just a big brother attitude.

"It wants to be the Internet." It is largely succeeding in this endeavor, which is what I'm trying to say.

"Personally I think someone who is still in high school or college right now will launch something before long that will catch on amongst the next group of "cool kids" and off we'll go again."

Maybe. But keep in mind what that product would have to be to compete; a platform that serves as a home base for your personal identity. Not your alias, not your interests, not one side of you, not some niche-oriented community version of you, but you as you actually are. And it has to do it in a more user-friendly way than Facebook does. That is not going to be a simple thing which can be expected to roll out at some point soon.

Facebook is a monopoly, and it is rapidly entrenching itself as thus. Simple competition will not dislodge it. I'm not sure what will.

The internet is getting more monopoly-driven, controlled by small group of service providers, telecoms, and now flagship webpages. You talk to people on facebook. You find things on Google. You buy things from Amazon. This standardization is more common than it used to be, and I'm very worried that its going to become the norm.

April 4 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

I just saw the ultimate Facebook spam. A friend "liked" a site called FBSpamBlocker. But something looked fishy about it, and as it turned out, the friend hadn't liked it. But it was still going out in his name. It's spam/malware itself.

In theory Facebook lets you communicate with a select group of friends and you're supposed to believe that what you are getting from them is actually coming from them. But now, even if you are really good about not approving as friends people you don't know, you're starting to get questionable links, likes, and apps from them because their names are getting hijacked. Some things are legitimately viral, and many more things are just spreading because of lack of security. It's becoming a big Trojan horse.

When people get to the point where they don't feel they can trust much of anything on Facebook, and particularly if there is a better alternative, I think they are going to migrate.

As is ALWAYS the case, any website that isn't YOURS should merely be a signpost pointing to yours or gathering names for your email list. MP3.com died, MySpace turned into a vegetable, Podshow.com totally collapsed into uselessness...

All that will ever remain, as long as you're still making music, is your own website and your own email list. Make backups.

hey, nothing is perfect. And life is short and then you die, all too soon, as well.

I don't LURVE FB, but to be truthful it did a job of an agent/manager for me for a couple of years. I got jobs through it, I got my connections and a fantastic record deal through it, as well. Now I have built an amazing biz team, and yes, I do love my team at the label too. I started from nothing, with FB. I treated it as a platform, but it was about relationships, disseminating content and staying connected in a tasteful way. If you are going to look for flaws, you'll find them everywhere, in every system. But life - and careers - have to go on. I suggest you adopt a slightly more positivist mindset, because it may just help you get to the 10,000 likes. Uh, btw, yes - 84 real people are worth more than 10,000 likes. But lighten up, darling.

June 13 | Unregistered Commentertheartist

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