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Social Media by Jayesh Mehta

So what’s the big deal about Social Media? I know, it’s been around for over a decade, but what is its big appeal? I haven’t taken any surveys, or done a statistical analysis of it. I know there has to be a few out there, but I will go by what I’ve seen and what I can infer. First, let’s see why people initially join. What I have seen is that social networks, initially, was just for communication via distances, that didn’t take up too much time, or money. Think email, or texting. As it evolved, it has become more of location to gossip, except it was kind of open, so it didn’t feel like gossiping. Think about where the social networks have found their initial following. The tweens, the college kids. Social life is life to them. And here they have a voice after classes, and with newer technology, in between and during classes. It’s like hanging out in the cafeteria or after school with your friends all day. What’s not to like. After the sites get some traction, the older crowd starts filtering in.


Why do they come? This may be more psychological. The just out of college crowd and the young professionals don’t want to give up their college years, mainly because they found out once you leave, you have to work…all day. And the bosses won’t tolerate late assignments, and you can’t go out to the bar and pound a few everyday and show up to work hung over, or drunk. So many rules. So they gravitate to where the college kids are socializing. The bars on weekends. But now, social media let’s them “be at the bar” all day. Then, the death knell of most social media sites, the over 30 and over 40, and beyond crowd starts showing up. The 30’s and early 40’s don’t want to be considered old, and out of touch. They still feel like they are the young professionals. So they start getting all their friends onto this or that site. Then the “beyond” crowd comes in, as their younger friends are on it, and it’s a good way to socialize with them. And so on. While the 30’s and 40’s start coming in, the tweens and college kids find another site.


This was Friendster. This was MySpace. This is Facebook. Yes, it is happening. Many people think Facebook will be around for a long time. I give it a few years. Some Social Media sites will last longer because they target the older audiences, like the LinkedIns. What about Twitter? This a little bit more interesting. This isn’t just saying things to your friends, but to the (net) world. It’s a voice to the unheard. How poetic. It will also go away, although it has in my opinion, more years left than Facebook. I’d give it 5-10 years (less with better/new technological advances). Beyond the ageism, essentially the flaw is that the Social Media sites don’t advance/upgrade/innovate after their initial couple of years. Oh sure they try, but the users don’t want the change, and resist it, complain about it, and may leave because of it. It’s a conundrum. If they don’t change, users will leave in time for something new. If they do change, users complain, and may leave because they don’t want “change.” Inherently, all Social Media sites will fail. I’ll blog more about what the sites could do to prevent their own demise, and about the business side of Social Media in my next post.



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