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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Facebook Usernames = Another Puzzling Move by Zuckerberg

facebook usernames

Maybe it's just me, but I miss the good old days when Facebook was exclusive to college students and alumni. Initially, Facebook appealed to me for two main reasons:

  1. It kept me in touch with college classmates who lived far away.
  2. I wasn't bothered by the creeps and spammers that  flooded MySpace.

Now, with access granted to the entire public and usernames coming soon, the network  Mark Zuckerberg created to connect classmates barely resembles the community it orginated as, and it's morphed into combination of  Twitter and Myspace.
The contrast between Facebook of 2009 to Facebook 2005   reminds me of the evolution of ESPN from the mid-90's to the 2000's. Since Walt Disney Company and ABC took over, many fans, myself included, long for the days when Sports Center was solely devoted to recapping the games and providing vital stats. Now, the sports monopoly is known more for its superstar personalities and trendy catch-phrases, rather than the games and players it covers.
In both cases, inflated egos led executives to ditch their distinguished model to pursue a new course to attract a larger fan base, but the old-timers feel unappreciated and overlooked.

Facebook's initial format was an intimate profile to outline your personal life. It's expanded to the point where there's virtually nothing unique about its structure. Do you think the new usernames are a good idea? Vote in our poll.

By Matt O'Hern at 12:06 PM | Comments (2)

(2) Thoughts on Facebook Usernames = Another Puzzling Move by Zuckerberg

For people with names like John Smith a user name is a good idea. Also it helps people search if you have a unique tag for all your sites. Maybe Facebook thinks they can sell vanity names like license plates and domain names down the road.

However, it's more storage, more indexing, more maintenance for the user and for Facebook. Even though for each user the impact is negligble when you have millions of users these add to operational costs.

Directories are a maintenance hassle, but potentially a source of revenue if you take the Yellow Pages model - so I suspect down the road Facebook sees a monetization opportunity.

Comments by Angela Hey : Friday, June 12, 2009 at 02:59 PM

Facebooks seems to taking natural, evolutionary steps rather than tearing itself apart -- it's hard to see how you're really being left behind by this.

And I'm not sure what ESPN you're talking about -- it was *always* about the stars, personalities and catch phrases (Chris "How 'Bout Another Nickname" Berman made the network what it is). Now it's more so -- and it's deeper and richer, and the website is a fantastic source of scores and stats (as well as everything you need for fantasy games). Oh and it's wildly successful. What they dropped was dirtbike racing, strongest man and lumberjack contests, which was cool, but really, who watched these?

And Facebook has always been about connecting people and keeping them in touch with each other. It may have a different feel these days, but at its core, it's identical.

Comments by Ken Kadet : Friday, June 12, 2009 at 04:50 PM

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