Think about the following platforms and when the first traditional media activity/participation occurred in that platform's history: Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Chatroulette. It was a shorter and shorter period for each platform.*
Let's call this the adoption half-life. It's a bastardization of Moore's Law, but the level of adoption required for a social platform to be covered as The Next Big Thing in social platforms will continue to decrease until NBT status is bestowed upon a platform used only by those in the media.
I'd been writing a post about this that wasn't coming out the way I wanted, so I shelved it until I saw The Onion's take on last fall's New York Times' take on Foursquare. Then I decided to jam 2 posts together.
The Onion sums this all up way more succinctly:
Aging, scared newspapermen throw themselves at the latest mobile technology trend in a humiliatingly futile attempt to remain relevant.
For his part, Foursquare founder, Dennis Crowley, had this to say:
Um, The Onion poking fun of @foursquare (and me). This is the greatest moment of my entire life.
*If someone has a LexisNexis account and can find the first mention of these platforms, I'd be grateful, but since this is the internet, I don't need sources, mirite?
The story of Friendster's failure. By way of illustration, the people involved all blame each other for the debacle. I've gotta say, I loved watching Friendster fail...they were the poster child for stupid dot com companies during a time when that crap was all supposed to have been flushed down the toilet. "At MySpace, they rode the wave instead of fighting it [as Friendster did], and encouraged users to do pretty much as they pleased."
Cory Arcangel is committing Friendster Suicide tonight at The Believer Dec/Jan issue launch party at PS1. You can also follow along at home: "Friendster me sometime before [the performance], and around 8:40 EST on Thursday(ish), I assume if you keep reloading your browser window on Friendster, I think I will simply disappear from your friend list." Antisocial networking.
Found this in my inbox the other day:
Subject: Friendster Misses You
Date: October 30, 2005 11:09:14 AM EST
I guess when your software is social and everyone it used to hang around with spends all their time with other software, it can get a little clingy. Are drunken late-night messages next?
Subject: Friendster Loves You So Much. You Were The Only One Who Really Ever Understood Friendster. Could You Come Over Right Now? Friendster Just Wants To Talk. Why Don't You Want To Talk To Friendster? It'll Be Different This Time, Friendster Promises. Please Call Friendster.
Date: November 23, 2005 02:49:14 AM EST
Friendster has a new feature...you can tell who has looked at your profile (feature is on by default and you can turn it off...if you're even aware of it in the first place). If I still used Friendster (not that I ever really did), I'm not sure how I would feel about this. On the one hand, you can tell if someone's interested in you (that guy you just met at the bar found your page as soon as he got home), but on the other hand, you might not want the girl you have a crush on to know you're obsessively reloading her page to check for updates. (Also, imagine if they added this to LiveJournal...)