Right, but there’s a problem. Facebook is too broad. It does too much. You can broadcast a status, send a private message and make a video call, all on one site. A platform so varied is impossible to categorise. This was fine for the PC generation. Websites and big screens can handle complexity. The mobile generation, however, demand simple, intuitive more specialised experiences. The entirety of Facebook, (events, groups and all) squashed into one app feels bloated. And Facebook know it. That’s why they’ve started rolling out an unbundling strategy. By breaking off some of its functionality into stand-alone, tailor-made apps it can compete with lighter, more agile, competition in that category. Alex Murrell
Speaking of classifying social networks and communication tools, here’s another way to look at some of them. What is find most interesting about this version – and the following – is how crowded three quadrants are compared to the last one: the permanent & symmetric contains only one service, e-mail! It’s quite remarkable how it was able to survive all these years – and all the attempts to ‘kill’ or ‘revolutionize’ it. Google tried that with Wave and Buzz, but both were actually extending email into other quadrants where it didn’t ‘belong’; Wave pushed email towards more ephemeral interactions, while Buzz tried to make it more asymmetric. Even Facebook, which is supposed to be the current authority on social – is admitting defeat, retiring its email-messaging mash-up attempt.
In a way, email is the Windows of the social space, boring and unattractive, long due for an overhaul; while many people may hate it, it still works because it’s available on every device in a form or another and it’s still an open, distributed system, where anyone can talk to anyone else – which is almost never possible with other apps. It will be very interesting to see if and when someone will successfully break into this area on the graph, since for now everybody seems to be avoiding it.