After the $100 billion IPO, the surprise wedding and the $10 million in advertising pullback from General Motors, Facebook news has been scarce.
What remains constant are all the issues involving privacy policies and content ownership; nonetheless 900 million users continue their alliance to the world’s largest community, social media, in spite of repeated media criticism.
History tells us that as soon as consumers feel a brand’s mission strays, competition will eventually come in to attract followers from their midst. In the case of Facebook, will it be attraction to data ownership, allowing a more creative and personal environment, or will the ability to protect member content and identification on demand, as Diaspora proposes, erode its market share? Difficult to know, change is not easy, especially if it requires a separation from existing “friendship” ties which have been nourished on Facebook.
Competition in this space is fierce and more will come and go, but will there be one that weakens Facebook?
Socially active groups with common interests are finding alternative places to share experiences and build friendship bridges; but for many they are a secondary space. To the majority, Facebook still reigns in their day-to-day sharing.
The real threat will come first with multicultural segments when tens of millions of potential members and large followers are offered the opportunity to share outside of what they perceive to be a non-culturally compatible site. The typical afterthought of multicultural needs by general market decision makers in the US (including Facebook) will provide a big opportunity to culturally driven social media for African Americans, Hispanics and LGBT segments. All three groups over-index in social media consumption; losing them will certainly open a big gap to the market leader. This exodus, when it happens, will also stimulate the general market to find new places. It happened in traditional media powerhouses and early leaders in the search engine space; why not in social media.