April 20, 2008

Social Networking…Online (Part 2)

Filed under: Information Supernova, Personal Branding — Robert John Ed @ 3:28 pm

The real catalyst for these posts was reading a post by Fred Wilson the other day. It details Facebook vs. WordPress on a few different levels. He is absolutely on point as well.

For starters take a look at UV’s of each site:

By the way, go to Fred’s post, the comment string there is really unbelievable. He really has developed an amazing community of thinkers.

Now what is the difference between Facebook and WordPress? Well the valuation for one thing. FB is valued at 15b and WP at 200m. That’s a humongous difference. Now let me preface the oncoming argument with the fact that I don’t necessarily think that page views and uv’s are a surefire way to success. I think that our metrics are only the tools to help get us to the next level of consumer understanding on the web. Still, if you look at numbers like what the graph above, Facebook certainly garners more interaction and users. But the level of discrepancy between valuation and statistical measures is absurd. Frankly, Facebook is probably overvalued.

Why? Microsoft gave them 240mm for 1.6% (!) of the company. That adds up to the inflated 15b valuation. Facebook does have some things that WordPress doesn’t. WordPress is what this blog is written on and it’s a very cool software easy enough for simpletons such as myself to use effectively. Facebook is an online social network where people can browse one another’s profiles, IM, send messages, pictures, play games and many more cool activities. For marketers, it’s more valuable than a blogging software because it catalogs and records demographic and psychographic characteristics of users. That’s a lot of valuable information for the 69 million active users it currently has (via wikipedia).

Marketers can get excited about FB because it’s another platform for them to plunder and it’s easy to do because of the centralization. Blogging is a more difficult place to advertise for companies, although one could argue it’s actually much less expensive if we would simply join the conversations of bloggers as a company profile and weigh in. Many companies have been running affiliate marketing through blogs for a long time and making good money doing so. But the specific targeting is there with FB, and that is a big selling point.

Realistically, I’m trying to gauge the value of Facebook to WordPress in terms of consumer use in the future. And it’s difficult to say. The reason this intrigues me so much is that I suffered from Facebook fatigue and had to log off the system for a few months. It’s addicting! It also didn’t provide me a good outlet to get my thoughts down. I decided to start blogging and it really is much more valuable to me, but the social network isn’t quite there yet. All my friends are on FB, and barely any of them blog. This is odd to me because I know a ton of marketers so they would seem the most likely to be using Facebook as an extension of a more prominent web presence; alas, it is not so.

So I tend to think that blogging just isn’t cut out for everyone. It’s something you have to commit to. Joining a social network online is pretty easy with all kinds of fun stuff to do. Most people don’t think that writing is fun. That’s why FB has such value. And I think that will stay the course. Just because everyone has the ability to publish themselves, one way or another, doesn’t mean that they want to.

I feel like I’m missing something in this post, and I can’t put my finger on it. I may retouch on this with more precise thoughts in the future.


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