People stopped sharing.

“34% of Facebook users updated their status, and 37% shared their own photos, down from 50% and 59%, respectively, in the same period a year earlier.”  on.wsj.com/1Q7BQyg

Or as Michael Wolf put it in his monster WSJ slide show…

“Messaging will blow past social networks as the dominant media activity.”  read.bi/1hUgir1

Turns out throwing your vitals, your hobbies, your irrelevancies, into the ether is ultimately ungratifying. At first you get caught up in the hoopla, but when you realize no one’s reacting, no one really cares, you stop.

We’ve seen it again and again in the internet sphere.

Remember when everybody was gonna have a blog?

And then there was Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat…

They’re all fads. People have a fantasy others care, but they don’t. And once you’re disabused of the notion that everybody’s waiting for your words and pics of wisdom, you stop playing.

Meaning those enterprises that are built upon the efforts of the crowd, that supply infrastructure and nothing more, are doomed. It’s all about content. And the best content is not that created by nobodies, but pros. Why do you think YouTube is challenged and starting to charge? There’s no money in everybody’s home movies!

Yes, Facebook just reported stellar numbers. Give the company credit for moving quickly to mobile and doing a good job of selling space to advertisers. But we’ve seen advertising costs plummet around the web, will they plummet on Facebook? Is amassing eyeballs upon bogus content the future of the internet?

That’s why we have linkbait, so companies can generate impressions that they can sell to advertisers. But the rates keep going down because the ads make no impression, people ignore them if they don’t block them entirely.

Which is what Apple allows you to do on iOS. Users are thrilled, outlets basing their revenues on advertising are not. And then there’s PewDiePie, the king of the aforementioned YouTube, who claims that 40% of YouTubers block all ads. (bit.ly/1LFvbs3)

Making Apple once again the smartest enterprise on the planet. Knowing that there has to be a there there, and you gain advantage by establishing trust with your customers, as opposed to employing subterfuge and selling their data.

But the dropping posts on Facebook prove that everybody is not a star. That the wild west atmosphere of the internet is a phase. And as things solidify, cyberspace resembles the rest of society… There’s a very thin layer of superstars/winners, a small class who believe the low barrier to entry means they can win the lottery, while the rest have checked out and are interacting one to one and consuming when they’re not.

Same as it ever was. Passivity reigns. TV never became interactive and the websites built on this premise, that if you build it they will come and spew their data and make you rich, is flawed too.

You can’t control the customer. And what the customer has said again and again is not only will he gravitate to free, his allegiance is temporary at best. You’ve got to create a product worth paying for and continue to improve it otherwise you’ll be passed by.

So, those who create visual content professionally are still in good shape. As are the news titans. They’ve just got to wait out the chaos, as the major labels did in the music business.

Remember, the majors were gonna die. But now they’re even more powerful than before, because of their relationships. In an era of chaos, they’re the only ones who can gain traction on a product!

So Wall Street is behind the times, not as lost as the government, but clueless as to what’s coming down the pike. Anybody who used a mobile device knew that BlackBerry was toast, but Wall Street propped it up for years, and believed theoretical comebacks, even though we know it’s impossible for classic rockers to have another hit, hell, Robin Thicke may never have another hit!

The big wheel keeps on turning.

We’re a nation of grazers, not builders. We don’t want to waste too much effort constructing that which will not pay dividends.

So we talk to our friends and click through to the greats.

Facebook may end up being a primary destination, but housing the efforts of its users will yield diminishing returns. It’s all about first class content.

“Forbes” let the lunatics into the asylum, letting everyman post, and it ruined their brand, never mind their financials.

HBO skims only the biggest talent and scores big in subscribers.

Because we don’t want to waste time on nobodies, only stars.

And the truth is there are very few of them.

And you’re not one of them.


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  1. bmz commented on Nov 7

    As a member of the nonprofessional great unwashed; I love Facebook. I have friends, relatives (and most importantly grandchildren), across the country and across the world. Facebook has truly shrunk the world. I can now be closely involved with all, regardless the physical distance between us. Even my grandchildren who are close by, are now much closer because of Facebook. Rather than seeing them once every other week, I get to see them and hear of the funny things they do almost every day. On a particularly good sailing day, my Gopro and Facebook lets my far-flung friends share the fun(their comments strongly suggest that they DO care). I have joined groups of like-minded people, interest groups, even those who were born and raised in my hometown. My life has been greatly enriched because of Facebook.
    Unfortunately, too many people are influenced by the criticisms of the “professionals” like you. I have pleaded fruitlessly with friends and relatives I only get to see every few years to join Facebook; and get your type of response–they’re not “exhibitionist”, they are not so ” egotistical” as to want to share every detail of their lives. But underlying their responses, is your view–they are better than those of us who do.

  2. davebarnes commented on Nov 7

    I really have to disagree with you, Bob, on this.

    1. I think Facebook has changed everything about maintaining relationships. When I graduated from high school in 1966, we all lost track of each other. But, when my daughter graduated 2004, she was able to keep up classmates.

    2. Linked is the same for former co-workers.

  3. disfiguredskating commented on Nov 8

    Bob, you bring up a lot of valid points. I was on Facebook for 3 years. I dropped off for the last 3 and haven’t missed it much. So many people have a Facebook page and not a webpage that there are times it is inconvenient for me to have deleted my account. There are people who post updates that I am cluelessabout . I am in advertising and there are many smaller businesses that have had success with Facebook because it is cheap thereby making it easier to be effective. I feel it is a cluttered platform that practically BEGS for your attention and to let it into every aspect of your life. I don’t know either way, but like most things it is a demon as much as it is an angel.

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