Brands just aren’t what they used to be. A brand used to be something that stood the test of time. Now a brand is still powerful in terms of defining what a product is all about, but when it comes to loyalty, fuggetaboutit. Brands today are volatile.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the social networking space, where Orkut and Friendster are about as attractive as yesterday’s dog food. Myspace, the hot item just six months ago, is in a brand tailspin from which it may not recover; even the kids are sneering at it. And the new darling? It’s Facebook, which a year ago looked like a dead-end street…
Facebook’s founders supposedly have turned down offers approaching a billion dollars for the site. Smart or not? Facebook is certainly ascendant. The question I have is: For how long?
Amen. I think of hang-outs from my high school days… a particular hamburger stand for a couple months, until all the kid brothers and sisters showed up, then the crowd would up and move to the arcade on Saturday nights after the football game… then the pizza shop… then the 24-hour donut place (hmm… them’s good eats!).
I seem to recall that the arcade did NOT survive when the in-crowd moved on. Other places did fine and probably preferred that the teenagers got lost after awhile.
So I’m guessing that the “it” social networking site will continue to shift (I don’t know who’s after Facebook)… it’s not about bells and whistles, it’s about who’s there. That’s reasonable. Some sites will compete for the favor of the masses, while others will be content to develop niches.
I like Front Porch Forum‘s potential. It’s not about popularity, it’s social networking with your neighbors… online a little so it can happen in person a lot. I see it as a solid base that doesn’t try to compete with the trendies… part of any real community’s infrastructure. We’ll see.