If you run a furniture shop, one of the best things that can happen, is that other people selling furniture (or related articles) open up stores in close proximity to yours. Together you become more attractive to customers, and also grow the interest of the public with regards to furniture.
There is a digital version of this too, but often overlooked because of the “winner takes it all” dogma of the net. If we take a closer look at the numbers we will see that this is not the exact truth.
Facebook has grown to become a social behemoth. A virtual super power if you like. The others have been left in it´s trail. Or have they? Compared to Facebook most other sites and services do not have the same growth if you look at the total usage numbers. But many of them have a really positive growth. To compare with furniture. Let´s call Facebook Ikea of the net. Those sites that dont try to copy Ikea but are either exploring advanced services like Ikeahacking or sell design furniture or interior architecture services are in many cases showing a really positive development.LinkedIn for instance. Because of Facebook new people are daily exposed to the participatory society and some see the benefit of building a online CV so they can get in touch with other people in their business sector. Others discover the social power of sharing and discussing presentations on Slideshare. And some find writing a social blog on Tumblr to be easy and entertaining. These are just a few examples.
Clay Shirky makes the following argument in his latest brilliant book, The Cognitive Surplus. “The biggest shift that has happened is the one were people are moving from passive consumers (watching TV) to active involvement on the social net.” Perhaps Facebook isn´t the most brilliant brain food ever invented but it helps people discover new possibilities. Once you have created a LOLcat the path to uploading a presentation on Slideshare has been dramatically shortened.
This is why you should see beyond the massive volume of Facebook users and how they are “beating” the competition. Facebook has never tried to beat any of the services mentioned earlier. They partly prosper because of each other.
Here is a thought. If you happen to be in the B2B market. Would you serve your business best by creating a page on Facebook or create a group on LinkedIn? (We expect you to have something worth peoples attention by the way. If in doubt contact us. We can help you with this.) You should most likely go for involvement on LinkedIn. Despite their relative small size compared to Facebook, they are still really big. They are actually the biggest B2B place in the world. Physical or digital. Nothing compares in biz relations.
Facebook is not the answer to all your challenges. Facebook is great in many ways, but far from being the one and only solution. That is why we believe in keeping a close look at everything in the neighborhood, not only the big fancy house up on the hill.
This was first published on Isobar Norway.