Why Diaspora* is great news for Facebook

You remember Blockbuster.   Big successful company once, but with an Achilles heel – people hated late fees.  Netflix exploited this to build its customer base, and never looked back.

You know Facebook.  Big successful company now, but with an Achilles heel – people hate its approach to privacy.  Will Diaspora* exploit this to build its customer base and replace Facebook?

No.  Blockbuster was too slow to react – it could easily have introduced a Netflix-like subscription option early on, and saved itself.  Facebook will be much more alert.  Billion dollar companies that are paying any kind of attention don’t sit quietly and let themselves be dismantled.

Facebook’s modus operandi has always been to see what it can get away with, then backpedal if need be.  Diaspora* will be an invaluable partner in this strategy – when there is an uptick in D*’s popularity, FB will know it’s time to back off.

But couldn’t D* become popular enough to replace FB?  Again, no.  Like all networks, social networks are useful because of who else is on them, and that depends on their core user group.  FB’s core group was Harvard students.  Everyone wants to be a Harvard student.  Diaspora* has a nerdy name, and its core group is nerds.  Nobody wants to be a nerd.  Even nerds don’t want to be nerds.  D* will come up with something as user-friendly and popular as Linux.  It will be a badge of honour among the tech-savvy, but no threat to FB.  (Wait a minute, you say, what could be nerdier than naming your company after 10^100?  And Google does pretty well.  Good point, but remember that a nine-year old first coined the word “googol”, and what could be cuter and less threatening than a nine-year old?)

So Diaspora* is great news for Facebook.  It will do FB’s market research for free, and divert energy into a non-threatening competitor.  Zuckerberg couldn’t have done better if he had been behind the whole thing.  Was he?  That’s a ridiculous idea … but I might check to see if he has any friends at NYU.

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One Response to “Why Diaspora* is great news for Facebook”

  1. Why Diaspora* is great news for Facebook « Erehweb's Blog « WAFFiL: In-Store, Online & Mobile Social Marketing Says:

    […] Continue reading here: Why Diaspora* is great news for Facebook « Erehweb's Blog […]

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