The Evolution of Facebook: From Friends to Fans to Subscribers

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Wouldn’t the world be a simpler place if all the social network platforms eventually merged into one? Facebook, Twitter, MySpace…the list goes on and on. Each initially had its own unique value proposition. Nowadays, it seems as though the lines drawn amongst many of these tools is beginning to blur. Take geolocation services for example. foursquare is crowned the leader in this space; however, all check-ins can be displayed in one’s Twitter feed. And then there’s Facebook Places with a slightly different value proposition yet, at the end of the day, is quite similar to that of other geolocation apps.

And now Zuckerberg just recently introduced Facebook’s “Subscribers” capability. It is now possible to “subscribe” into public updates of members who may or may not be your friend. And how is this different from what Twitter has been doing for years? It feels as though Facebook is aiming to be everything to everyone. Schooling has always taught us to focus on one’s core competency – not to spread oneself too thing and eventually become a Jack of all trades, master of none. On the other hand, is hosting one portal to satisfy ALL the needs of today’s social media savvy consumers one’s best bet to beating the competition at its own game?

The answer to these questions is still up for grabs, but all one can say is that Zuckerberg may easily find himself in yet again another privacy issue debacle. Advertisers will undeniably love this new “Subscriber” offering, but how does the Average Joe feel? If history replays itself, Facebook will continue to be bigger and better than ever.


6 thoughts on “The Evolution of Facebook: From Friends to Fans to Subscribers

  1. With so many social media platforms, it’s hard to keep up with them all. I agree with the thoughts outlined in this post; if I could go to one place and simultaneously take a quick glance at all that is happening at that moment within my social media networks (right now I have accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in), then my so-called “social media life” would be better organized and easier to manage (plus, I’d feel more “in the know” regarding my friends/followers/connections within these platforms). Include my personal email, work email, Fordham email and work and personal cell phone text messages, and I think I’d be set. Perhaps this is the wave of the future – just one place to go (perhaps a website or device that, in real time, aggregates all these platforms/information relaying services and accounts?) to receive all my various communications – in one fast glimpse. Does anything like this already exist?

    • To date, I don’t believe there is such an aggregator. It would certainly simplify the process of staying connected though.

      Of course, there are cons as well as pros to having all networks integrated into one platform. Check out what Ryan Howard, a character from The Office, has to say about the fictional

  2. I definitely agree. A user friendly, well laid out, aggregator would make all our lives so much easier. That said there are a couple apps you could download that are heading the right direction such as Tweetdeck which allows you to post both to your twitter account and facebook wall simultaneously. This kind of tool is incredibly convenient when managing a company’s social media campaign.

  3. I also agree that there should be one social media site that incorporates all of the different platforms. I actually touched upon this in my write up of the weekly case as well. I think it’s very surprising that people are willing to spend so much time on such a large variety of sites, updating many different statuses, information, photos, etc. As we discussed regarding Netflix and the new Qwikster site, people typically do not want to register and start over on a new website, yet many people seem willing to continuously create new social media accounts on different sites. I would think one site that incorporates all of the platforms would simplify one’s “social media life” immensely and would make it easier to keep in touch with friends (or followers) in one place.

    Regarding the facebook “subscribe” function now in place, I am curious if we are given a privacy option to block people from Subscribing to us, or are we forced to allow any interested stranger to now have access to our information?

    • Great insights!

      As of now, Facebook users have to actually elect to make their updates public and sign up for the “Subscriber” functionality. It’s really on the user to be responsible in how it manages the tool; however, Facebook needs to be careful to continuously keep their users informed of what the tool is all about. However, at this point, Facebook’s “Learn More” page does a great job of explaining the new feature.

  4. I know mobile phones are trying to do this. The new Windows Phone takes your Facebook messages and SMS into the same thread. I also think they will be doing this with Twitter and LinkedIn with their new update. I like the idea of having them all in the same place but then each woudn’t really exist because they would lose traffic and then lose the advertising revenue. So although it would be easier for users it would be hard for companies unless they were paid by this gian aggregator.

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