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Facebook – are you part of the phenomenon?

Facebook – are you part of the phenomenon?

Facebook – are you part of the phenomenon?

Some of you will be 100% familiar and socially immersed in Facebook; the rest of you won’t have a clue what it is. There's not that many people in between; once it gets you, it's got you. Once you start updating your status message there really is no going back… For those who are not familiar, Facebook is a social networking website. It’s the 2nd biggest such site on the web today, surpassed only by MySpace, for now... It started off life in the US college community in February 2004, and, after various rounds of venture capital funding, has since become available to anyone and everyone. There’s a comprehensive Wikipedia article on Facebook, here if you want to do some further reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook Over the last few months Facebook usage and active accounts has grown exponentially. Many attribute this to them launching an API that allows the community to develop applications to be used on the website. Within weeks, hundreds of user generated applications sprang up (and continue to), including PlusNet’s first (and not last) Facebook application “PlusNet Referrals” written by our very own Dan Dunford. We also have the PlusNet Staff Facebook Group that, as of writing, 56 staff and alumni are members of, and also the PlusNet Customer Facebook Group where staff and customers can interact on a social basis. It’s a prime example of the community driving usage and spreading the word. Facebook never advertise the service themselves. Why should they? They have 26 million users who are doing that for them; every day. You can’t buy that sort of exposure. So, how has this got anything to do with PlusNet? Well, Facebook's success is down to them providing a service that their users demand. There’s plenty of competition in the social networking sector; Facebook just happen to deliver a product that people want. These satisfied customers then feel confident enough to recommend the service to their circle of friends. Then these friends do likewise to their friends, and before you know it, they have tens of millions of users. PlusNet operates in exactly the same way in terms of customer acquisition. We need to understand and appreciate the type of service that our customers demand of us and their Internet connection. If we can fulfil these demands then we’ll have some happy customers who will choose to recommend us to their friends and family and colleagues. If we continue to listen to our customers and evolve to suit their ever changing demands, we’ll continue to generate happy, referring customers. If we get things wrong, there’s plenty of other Internet Service Providers out there… Google and Yahoo are also developing their own Social Network sites. We’ll soon have “Yahoo Mosh” and “Google Socialstream”. You can read more about it on Mike Arrington’s Blog, here: http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/07/08/google-yahoo-both-working-on-next-generation-social-networks/ So, Social networking; its here to stay; and let’s face it, it’s always been here. People have always found a way to congregate and form communities since the dawn of man. It just so happens that we have this thing called the Internet that we’re all now umbilically linked to so we can all socialise without getting off our [-Censored-]...that’s progress for you. It’s the future of PlusNet though… Matt Grest Head of Future Development PlusNet plc

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13 Comments
Grafter
A few months ago I shunned all of this Social Networking stuff as a flash in the pan thing. I'm hooked now though, just like you say Matt... The weirdest thing is discovering that some of my friends from different circles know each other, and the possibilities that opens up. It's mainly about drinking for me and I firmly believe the pub is still the best social networking tool of them all.
Community Veteran
In my opinion, you're kind of drawing comparisons where comparisons shouldn't be drawn. People don't recommend Facebook, nor do they do so based on its perceived 'quality'; people tell their friends to join Facebook because the whole point of Facebook is that you interact with the people you know. For example, a Facebook user might go out for the night with a non-Facebook-using friend; the following morning, the Facebook user then uploads photos of the night before to Facebook. Thinking the non-user would probably like to see the photos, the user invites the non-user, who then subsequently joins and comments all over the photos - i.e. the new user interacts with the old user. However, with PlusNet, it's just a case of recommending the service if its good; two people having a PlusNet connection does not make things more beneficial or enjoyable for both people, in the same way that two people having a Facebook account does.
Dabbler
>In my opinion, you’re kind of drawing comparisons where comparisons >shouldn’t be drawn. The point I was making revolves around this line: "PlusNet operates in exactly the same way in terms of customer acquisition." Community referral is how PlusNet have always acquired new customers. People think the service is good and tell people within their community. Same as Facebook. >two people having a PlusNet connection does not make things more >beneficial or enjoyable for both people" Actually it does. PlusNet fully encourages it's customer community to help and support each other. That's what this website is all about. Go and look at the forums. Customer A has an issue. Customer B, C and D offer him advice. This isn't a common theme amongst all ISPs. Matt Grest Head of Future Development PlusNet
Dabbler
I got into facebook a while ago, then got bored. Now I'm back on it and loving the apps that are now available on it. I agree that facebook isn't really based on perceived quality, but if it was pants, it wouldn't have exploded in quite the same manner as it has. I disagree with this statement however : "two people having a PlusNet connection does not make things more beneficial or enjoyable for both people". Surely one person gets an excellent service and the other gets money off their bill, and up to £25 bonus this summer. That has to be good for both parties involved surely? Also, the more the 'PlusNet Community' grows, the better feedback we'll get, and the better service will become for the user.
Community Gaffer
I’m well aware of facebook and what it does but choose not to use it, same with myspace etc. I personally am not sold on this Social Networking thing and prefer to maintain my contacts via other means. I’m not sure that the concept is a flash in the pan, but I can only see a mass migration to something else when a new app/site comes along, or when the owners start trying to ‘improve’ the service (ala Digg) or the advertising becomes too intrusive. A fair few of my friends use it (there was even a short lived group set up as part of a campaign to make me join it lol) , and they spend hours looking at things but not actually doing anything! There are plenty of good apps that do most of what facebook et al do, Wordpress, Gallery etc - it makes me wonder if development of independant apps will be stifled by the mass adoption of a mainstream tool like Facebook.
Dabbler
I think what FaceBook did that managed to get me hooked was an excellent combination of pushing just enough information to you and making it easy to interact with your contacts. Updating your status is incredibly easy to do and at first I just saw it as a bit of a novelty. However, that triggered some communication from a friend that I hadn't spoken to for a while. Sure, you could do this with blogs and e-mail and so on, but they've just managed to package some existing technology in a really effective way. It's not too big a step to imagine something subscribed to feeds generated by PlusNet customers that flags up alerts to people here based on certain keywords.
Not applicable
Personally, I think in the strictest sense of the words "social network" is a complete oxymoron. What is social about communicating through a turn based mechanism miles away from someone behind a keyboard and screen? I think ironically enough, if everyone started relying on "social networks" as a primary means of communication the world would be a very anti-social place. If I want to keep in touch, I'll call someone I know on the phone or get them on instant messenger. If I want to get to know more people I will go and meet my friends friends, and their friends and so on. I think a better description of Facebook, Myspace and ilk is a "Viral network". Meh, maybe I just don't "get" social networks?
Not applicable
I do enjoy my random facebookage. I've manage to regain contact with some old school friends, some that I haven't spoken to in getting on for 20 years. To me, it's not about social networking. well, obviously it is, but to me it's just another, albeit very good, website which allows you to manage and maintain contacts with current and old friends and just to find out what everyone is upto. I like looking at photos too Smiley
Grafter
I like Facebook, though I've only been using it for a couple of months. I found a few friends who I haven't seen in years and that made me more of a convert to this whole social networking idea. I know that there are lots of other apps you can use that do what Facebook does, but as with most things it's down to convenience and Facebook does the hard work for you. I also used Myspace briefly but got annoyed with all the messy pages and horrible music! Smiley
Newbie
Wondering why Facebook is so popular? This article gives some answers. Myself, I do do social networking but not on Facebook :-)
Not applicable
I think that Facebook is probably the best social networking site out there at the minute. The reason for me is that it has given me the chance to speak to my old school-mates and find out what they are up to. I would not have got the chance otherwise (I know I could ring them or actually go visit them but who does that these days? ;-P) and plus as they live all over the country, it's very handy. I also like the fact that it is very clean and has got a very simple template. This means that a) it loads quick in browsers and b) it's not open to horrible taste for profiles with horrendous colours and annoying music. It is also free which is an advantage over FriendsReunited (still a paid site I believe) and so more people use it to network with each other (is that a phrase yet?). I spend a lot of time on it, and am very interested to hear what my friends have been doing. Of course the apps are good but not as powerful as speaking to someone or looking at photos.
Not applicable
New to the facebook thinkgummyjig, but I gotta say, I like it. Like Mr Bailey its enabled me to easily get in touch with folks I've not seen for years and years. The sheen may wear off, but for now.... its all good.
Not applicable
[...] the move to give access to their API so that 3rd party developers could add value to the site? (I blogged about this way back in July 2007) Well, we are currently working on doing something similar at PlusNet. So, an example might be that [...]