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Facebook, the Web 2.0 killer

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 is the former GM of the Mail & Guardian Online and co-founder of award-winning blog aggregator and editorial blog Thought Leader. He has worked in the online medium all his working life literally from its inception in South Africa. He was one of the first new media graduates out of Rhodes University and has previously worked for, Carte Blanche (Interactive), Johncom (e-media) and the BBC Online ( in the UK. He is a computer fundi and has had one since the age of 7 (ZX Spectrum 48k), where he spent most of his time creating computer games in BASIC. He has spoken around the world on online media issues, including New York, Germany, Kenya and London.


  1. Oupoot Oupoot 27 August 2007

    Even Facebook will fade in the next 2 to 3 years, if there are new applications that offer the same or better. A key flaw of FB is how slow it opens / uploads. Another flaw is privacy, though for many it is not a big risk yet, it will most likely grow over time.

  2. Charl Charl 27 August 2007

    Another problem is every blog and radio station mentioning Facebook six times a day.

  3. Matthew Buckland Matthew Buckland 27 August 2007

    I access Facebook quite a bit, even from the office where we have the slowest internet in the Southern hemisphere at times, and I have never found speed to be an issue. The chess app which I frequent often fails, but with a couple of refreshes comes back again (I’m not sure if this is an issue with the app or Facebook). I think we’ll hear more privacy horror stories, but then again people are in control of these settings.

    So then where do you think the angle is to beating Facebook? They seem to be in the same league as Google: cool, simple, minimalist online apps that work and hit the spot.

  4. Charl Norman Charl Norman 27 August 2007

    I think all the api 3rd party apps slow down Facebook.. a lot of profiles are bombarded with 100 apps it loooks my myspace.

    Its been a great way to generate more hype and expand functionality but they should limit the amount of apps on your profile..

    (thinking out loud)

  5. Oupoot Oupoot 27 August 2007

    I dont like all the applications on FB – it is all extras that add marginal value to the FB site, if at all. What could possibly replace FB? Possibly something that integrates FB social networking with skype like communication facilities, but keeping it simple. Could be adding a news update facility for the more serious minded persons. But then I am only guessing.

  6. Charl Norman Charl Norman 28 August 2007

    I don’t think Facebook will be replaced any time soon. They are going for a IPO to generate serious cash for the OS project. They bought a web operating system a few months back so my assumption is they gonna turn FB into a online operating system. Boot your PC off Facebook.. with all the third party app programmers creating the winamps, picture viewers and media players needed…

    Interesting thought

  7. Matthew Buckland Matthew Buckland 28 August 2007

    Facebook an OS? Now that I think about it, that makes quite a bit of sense actually. Very clever — thanks for that tidbit, Charl.

  8. S Khoza S Khoza 8 October 2007

    Although Facebook is the in thing right now I don’t think it will ever overshadow MySpace. Some people might even go as far as to say that Facebook is a less glamourous version of MySpace. There will always be popular Web 2.0 sites like MySpace and YouTube to challenge Facebook. By this time next year there’ll probably be a new popular site and we’ll be thinking ‘Facebook who?’.

  9. T Lewis T Lewis 9 October 2007

    I don’t know much about all the different variations that appear on the net. I know my email system and I now know facebook. I think I might have been the last person that I knew to finally get onto facebook after months and months of nagging from friends. I enjoy facebook and it IS quick ans easy to use and has many fuctions that make it appealing, that’s why I seem to make a stop by there everytime I get onto the net. However, chances are that this is just a fase like everything else. Soon enough there will be something new on the net with better ways of communicating and we will all fall into that brand new web. Facebook will pass, it’s just a matter of when?

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