Google’s Ultimate Mashup, The End of Web 2.0, and More Metaverse Wannabees

Nevertheless, that’s what the Web 2.0 social networking site developers think they can do. They have the numbers to back them up: each of the most popular services proudly boasts having hundred million or more users. In their minds, sooner or later the competition will give up, and then they can simply forget about “interconnection”, once they have established themselves as uncontested leader. Friendster and hi5 tried that in 2003; MySpace in 2006; Facebook and Twitter are doing so in 2009. And always some direct competitor eclipsed them and their plans of “social networking world domination” went astray.

It’s irrelevant if you have a million or hundred million users; fragmentation — specially among thousands of similar tools! — will ultimately lead to a lack of clear “market leader”. Social networking sites delude themselves by pointing to success cases of the Web 1.0 like Amazon or eBay, which are uncontested leaders in their areas (even though neither have displaced the smaller e-commerce sites). The case with them, however, was different: they had little competition to start with, were long-term planners, and weren’t really imposing a communication protocol but simply a service. People like Facebook, however, are far more ambitious: they wish, for instance, that people stop using email and start using Facebook messaging instead, and rely on articles and studies showing that email is dead, mostly because of the inability to deal with spam (while all social networking sites require you to accept others as friends before you can get messages from them — an idea that was present on FriendFinder since 1996!).

Email, however, unlike Facebook messages, reaches all the 2 billion Internet users.

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