Monday, October 22, 2007

Gen F

OK I have to confess when Facebook started to emerge as a hot social networking site earlier this year I couldn't help but wonder what all the fuss was about. Even when I had it explained to me that Facebook was really more of a platform for all manner of applications I still tended to smile politely and ignore the commentary. When people sent me a message via Facebook it annoyed me - most of my friends on Facebook have my email address so why don't they just use that I moaned. In the past few weeks though I have been exposed to the generation that made Facebook what it is. This generation doesn't use Facebook, they live it. If they eat something good they share that morsel with their communities, if they get stuck in an airport they write it on their wall and so on. Photos are posted at an alarming pace and YouTube videos are shared like my grandmother used to share sweets (she was very generous btw). Facebook has also become their messaging palace. Put this together and it is clear that for this generation Facebook has become their online home. If I were Google I'd be a bit scared by this. My generation has got used to Google. We go there and we search. We don't do much else with Google though. The Gen Fs do a LOT more with Facebook and they spend hours there. Who's to say they can't create a search engine with Facebook user recommendations helping guide the results of that search? Indeed there really is no Google app they couldn't offer through Facebook. To use an analogy, Facebook could be the equivalent of a major TV Network, making Google a bit like TV Guide. This game is FAR from over but the community around Facebook is growing by the day and it is spending a LOT of its day there. For the oldies like me it may feel like a passing fad but if the Gen F people I've met are anything to go by, Facebook is here to stay and could well be the one to surpass Google as the dominant player on the Internet.

BTW - using my YouTube metric, Facebook is now above Intel and just behind Starbucks in the number of clips.