The existence of Facebook, the smash-hit social-networking site, may unwittingly kill off a host of other Web 2.0 start-ups. This is mainly because of Facebook’s inclusive and all-encompassing nature. The site appears to be blogging (lite), Twittering (short blogging), multiplayer gaming (simple games), dating, social networking, online photo management and even emailing all in one. In fact thanks to its open application system, Facebook can be almost anything you want it to be.

This Wired piece describes how Facebook has effectively killed off the once-pioneering, with the gloomy headline: “Friendster CEO confesses his company has trouble keeping up”:

Now that the pioneering social network [Friendster] has been pummelled into near oblivion by Facebook and MySpace, even the company’s top dog is willing to offer some probably too-candid remarks about the company’s past and future. Lindstrom said: “When you see anything working, follow it as far and as quickly as you can. Uhm, we didn’t even get to that stage because we were having trouble following other technology.”

I doubt Facebook’s inbuilt email system would replace other email clients as default email, but I can certainly see other Web 2.0 projects hurting as a result of Facebook. For example: I hadn’t yet had the time to look at the mini-blogging application called Twitter, but had resolved to do so at a later stage. But now that I am using Facebook’s Twitter-like “status updates”, I’m thinking: what’s the point of looking at Twitter? In Facebook, I now have Twitter and many other things all rolled into one.

I am also sure MySpace will take a knock from Facebook. Most MySpace sites look messy, in stark contrast to the much cleaner, minimalist style of Facebook, which seems to have also attracted an older, more educated market in addition to the youth. Anecdotally, I am also starting to hear musicians talking more about their Facebook groups than their MySpace groups. MySpace was the darling of the Web 2.0 world last year, but now all I hear is Facebook, Facebook, Facebook.


Matthew Buckland

Matthew Buckland

Matthew Buckland is the former GM of the Mail & Guardian Online and co-founder of award-winning blog aggregator and editorial blog Thought...

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