email, msn… facebook?

i talked to greg early this morning about jack layton being on facebook. he told me kinda fearfully (or maybe its just me projecting) that he thinks facebook could get so big it just never goes away. like email or msn messenger. he pointed that facebook is moving upwards, age wise, which is usually an indication of the ubiquity and maturity of a technology. everyone i know knows of someone’s parent joining, and a lot of older people i wouldn’t expect to join now have facebooks. and then there’s all the canadian politicians. its always the kids who are early adopters, but once your grandma is on it, its totally part of the everyday.

once facebook reaches a critical mass and has so many people, says greg, why would anyone switch? it would be nearly impossible to compete with facebook once everyone is on it, since any SNS’s value is mostly derived from the size and activity level of its user base. besides, why would you give up your 7000 wall messages and 500 meticulously tagged photos that your friends tagged of you. it’s not like switching from msn to yahoo messenger, cuz you have digital artifacts and relationships that aren’t really portable. sure you can import your photos to something else, but you can’t reproduce the social capital created by having your friends tag you in photos and then being able to show off how many photos you got tagged in on your profile.

on the other hand, toronto has the biggest facebook network in the world, so greg’s experience could either be the leading edge, or an exaggeration of the rest of the world’s use. they don’t use facebook here in perth like they do in toronto, where they are absolutely nuts for it. you meet someone once and they add you. people you went to school with when you were two and haven’t seen in 20 years add you. people who wouldn’t even talk to you at the mall add you (this has happened to me). here in perth, on the other hand, no one really cares. even at uni.

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