Every now and then students contact me while doing research on articles I’ve written on this blog or interviews published on my work. So this one started out very interesting although the eventual questions were not asking the right questions I believe.

Student Request

I’m studying journalism at Stellenbosch University, and have to write an in-depth article about something, and I chose Facebook . So it’s not for any publication and the deadline is Wednesday.  Since it’s about facebook do u mind if we do it via facebook? and the other reason would be that im currently busy with exams so i cannot really go anywhere.

I would like to know your opinion about social networks in general? what u think…do they actually provide a service or is it just to make money? facebook has a shaky history with both good and bad comments…do u think it will die down after the rush is over or will it actually become a real option for building networks…or do u think it is finally reaching it’s peak?

here goes…

  • your opinion about social networks, especially facebook?
  • has it brought change into your life / business? how
  • does facebook have a future in this competitive market or not?
  • why is facebook so popular?
  • your opinion about social networks, especially facebook?

Social networks are the unification of the Web in the post Search Engine era. What I mean by this is that since the rise of Google in 2000/2001. Social networks connect people more directly than email, websites or search ever could do. And it plays on the social nature of human beings to connect, flirt, chat, watch, observe, challenge each other. It essentially maps the psychological and emotional nature of the human being onto the Web.

Facebook is a special case because it has integrated every other concept that has gone before and amplified the interconnectedness between “friends” or between groups. It also allows other websites from blogs to major news websites to connect into Facebook. Starting out among students in 2004 it now dominates as the leader of ALL other social networks.

– has it brought change into your life / business? how

Yes, it has allowed me to connect with old friends and new friends easily and quickly. More and more people recognise me in the real world from my Facebook exploits. Imagine Liezel vd Westhuizen or Lee-Ann Liebenberg actually recognising me from Facebook/Twitter and being happy about it. That’s what’s happening to me.

It has also led to very intense business relationships because my life is now an open book. And my clients can see what I get up to in the evenings or on the weekends. I have to strike a delicate balance between what is privately private or publicly public.

– does facebook have a future in this competitive market or not?

Yes, Facebook will remain the leader for a very long time to come. There are many new social networks trying to compete with Facebook. So they have nothing to worry about because simply in pure size they are the King Kong on the block. Since they surpassed MySpace in 2008, there is almost no other competition in this market for them. The only way to compete is to focus on niche social networks in the way that www.NING.com allows users to do so.

– why is facebook so popular?

For all the above reasons and more. Facebook has managed to innovate on a regular basis the functionality and freedom people have to update their friends and play online. It’s the dominant social network on mobile phone now. And with more than 800 million users worldwide, it’s  of the total o