It is fair to say that most consumers consider Google and Facebook the Internet in its entirety. While they may be aware of other sites, when they think about the Internet, what they are thinking about is one of the above corporate giants. Social networking has been around for a long time. One of the first online communities was “The Well,” which still exists and was created in 1985 as an extension of the “Whole Earth Catalog.” MySpace, Xanga, and many others were very popular until the Facebook juggernaut took over the entire Internet. So will there be only one search engine or a single social network in the end?
The Faceless Book
It was not too long ago that Facebook was, while successful, just one of a number of social networking sites that people used to keep track of friends, communicate, and post pictures and messages. Friendster, MySpace, Xanga, Classmates, and others all served different demographics and markets.
Facebook on the other hand was originally a social network strictly built for Harvard students, and because exclusivity breeds desire, it led to Facebook expanding to include all Ivy League students. It later expanded again to include all college students of any school, and, finally, anyone with an Internet connection. This "forced scarcity" and tiered rollout created a huge demand and now we have the Facebook of today.
Facebook now claims to have 500 million users, which, if true, constitutes 25 percent of all Internet users. The other social sites have faded fast and while some have survived, many are no longer in business. With the social networking side of things well in hand, and Google the largest gateway to the web, Romulus and Remus rule us all and we are experiencing the end of the Internet. Or is it? ...continue reading