Home > Social Media > Super Original Thinking is Required to Topple Facebook

Super Original Thinking is Required to Topple Facebook

Super Radical Thinking is Required to Topple Facebook

Market research, social engineering and a little bit of luck seemed to produce a spate of so-called “boy bands” in the late 1990s. It was a radical, if not unpalatable idea, that hit artists could be fabricated rather than discovered.

It became a formula that underscores how much closer the entertainment community is to social science than it is to art.  It wasn’t a new concept, but it was the one that turned heads the most, since a time when Levitttown first placed that oh, so perfect tree.

The Truman Show, Minority Report, the Matrix – take your pick, or perhaps take your pill, but this is our world online.  It’s given to us in the name of relevancy because your friends that liked this post, also liked this post.

Marketers Mindlessly Chasing Cool

In a fleeting moment during one day of chaos, where today it seems everyone “positions” themselves as an expert, I had the notion that no one in business has all the answers.  We’re all just trying to figure it out, profitably, of course.  And if we don’t lose our way chasing the next cool.

In this liberty of an abstract context, I’d re-introduce Ello and the new social network’s noble concept that there’s a better model than advertising.  If the mass of headlines the network earned for a weekend, and maybe two, is any indication, there’s a hopefulness, especially among the Technorati over the potential for a replacement.

Yet, the reality is, it’s very difficult to replace, replicate or transition a billion people.  On the other hand, the masses can be unpredictable, especially in social moments of uncertainty.

What is certain on Facebook is that whatever remaining sentiment of organic appeal is left – the ability for content to move around the web on the merit of its very idea – is eroding in favor of the highest bidder. Virality, or appearance of virality, can be fabricated for a price.

Rethinking How Advertising is Bought and Sold

Ello is thinking outside the advertising model, which is interesting, but what’s also interesting is tinkering with the model.  Typically, those that sell advertising and those that advertise, do not have goals in alignment.  To some degree, pay-per-click, the standard of digital advertising has changed that a bit, but it’s far from perfect.

What if we radicalized this further – and aligned the goals of both organizations:  The advertising medium only gets paid when the advertiser gets paid. A cut of sales, or perhaps a slice of revenue for the especially bold (or desperate), the advertising medium is part financier, and part investor, but goals are nested.

It’s crazy right?  What if someone big, but not too big, started tinkering around with a model like this?  Someone like Yahoo, with plenty of online real estate, a penchant for radical, and some social-esque lines of business like Tumblr.

There’s a million reasons why it won’t work.  Can’t work.  Will never work.  But it’s that sort of radical thinking that’s going to be required to topple Facebook from its top seed. Perhaps then, we’ll really have something worth fabricating.

Photo credit: Flickr via Creative Commons; CC BY 2.0

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
Frequency Hop: The Social Conversation Fragments

You may also like
Survey shows people follow brands on social media to stay informed about new products and services
Youth will be served: 3 Signs B2B needs to revamp social media marketing
The Basic Benefits and Drawbacks of Owned, Shared, Earned, and Paid Media
Pragmatic Marketing and PR Predictions for 2020
30 Pragmatic Marketing and PR Predictions for 2020

8 Responses

  1. I hate Ello. I’m sorry, but the UX sucks. I love the idea of a non-ad alternative to FB, but unless someone is smart enough to move the masses it just won’t work.
    I hope Yahoo, or someone else, is paying attention to you.

  2. AmyMccTobin I agree Amy, but I’m also willing to give it time.  If we looked at an earlier version of Facebook, we’d probably say the same thing today.  Might even be a marketing stunt the network could pull. That said, I do think someone like Yahoo is perfect, perhaps desperate enough.  Nobody wants to be #3 or #4 in the market.

  3. Nice piece, Frank_Strong, and it’s definitely time for alternatives to Facebook. Like AmyMccTobin mentions, though, both Ello’s UI and UX are currently against it. It’s a nightmare to navigate, and not opening up with mobile support is crazy in 2014.
    My guess? More personal micro networks, run by people for their own little community. This can be via something as simple as BB Press, or with more advanced coding options. These will be based around like-minded folks on a mission; friends with similar interests; or simply friends filtering into networks they truly want to belong to, versus something they’re forced to belong to because their friends are there.

  4. Frank_Strong AmyMccTobin Just adding to my original comment – something like Pushup Social:

    Now, given, that’s more geared towards brands and organizations. But imagine something like this for families; alumnis; ex-colleagues; blogger communities. It’s simply a matter of finding the right approach for what you want to achieve, and making it somewhere people want to come and hang out with you, versus their current fixes elsewhere.

  5. Danny Brown I like the idea Danny, sort of social neighborhoods of sorts, how do these networks overcome the “I don’t have time for another network syndrome?” That’s the challenge of moving away from Facebook — everyone is there and any new rival is asking people to walk away from years of posting photos, connecting and updating things. People have deep roots on Facebook. AmyMccTobin

  6. Frank_Strong That is the main challenge for sure, mate, especially given the investment put into creating memories on Facebook. Personally, I’d be more than happy to leave Facebook for intrinsically intimate personal networks – but persuading others would be the real challenge. And on we go. AmyMccTobin

  7. Frank_Strong Danny Brown AmyMccTobin People are also LAZY… and they don’t like change. They only do it when something is SUPERIOR, or, when their friends do and they have no choice.

  8. AmyMccTobin It’s definitely going to take something extra-ordinary to break the Facebook habit.  I had hoped it would be brands given the outcry over organic, but really, I think brands are just looking at Facebook like a traditional ad buy today. Because that’s what it has regressed into, with a little bit of targeting. Danny Brown

Read previous post:
Study: Effective Content Marketing Has One Element

Walk with me for a moment – to about 30 years ago.  The setting is the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains...