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Facebook: aging pains?

John Battelle has a post today titled: Facebook: the next Google?
The article goes on about how Facebook, could be "That company." The next great company coming up. If my Facebook usage and appreciation levels are anything to by, the article could be bang on. Time will tell, and I'll be watching with great (certainly personal, but given the field I'm going to be in perhaps even professional?) interest.

However, this reminded me of something I wanted to write about Facebook a while back. Facebook is trying to grow. By starting Facebook Regions, a while back they moved beyond just high schools and colleges (and their alumni) to include a broader audience. Looking at the Compete data below, the move (in September) clearly seems to have worked. Their opening up their platform to outside developers is just brilliant, and so far has been extremely well-executed.

However, with this growth will come a whole new set of customers and a whole new set of expectations; some of which might pull Facebook away from its high-school/college level ethos and culture.

For example, Arrington asked for more "adult" ways to describe relationships (which I think are a bit iffy). Dave Winer has some excellent suggestions.

The challenge for Facebook going forward will be to manage the balancing act between satisfying their old customers and continuing to delight their new ones. This isn't an easy task by any means. No one moves away faster from a site than young people, especially if they feel that the site is also a place that their parents like to hang out. The only way to make sure they don't leave is to make the site ridiculously "sticky."...borderline indispensable. If the last few months are anything to go by, Facebook should be able to manage that just fine.....oh crap, that'll mean an even greater risk of Facebook addiction for me.:(


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