Twitter owned real time updates. Facebook mirrored it. AOL owned chat. Facebook copied it. Google owned search. Facebook morphed it. Foursquare developed check-ins. Facebook parroted it. And Groupon owned coupon search. Facebook Places has mimicked it.
I worked at a social media start-up (Zude) for a tech savant who wanted to out-YouTube YouTube, out-DoubleClick DoubleClick and out-MySpace MySpace. What he had – what we had – was the “fastest, easiest way to build and manage a website,” supported by a unique drag-and-drop technology. Sadly, the CTO didn’t want to perfect usability, rather, he wanted to be the best at everything. Hence, we were the best at nothing.
I’ve written about Google and its “culture of technological obesity” and it seems Facebook now is sharing that affliction. You can’t be everything to everybody. Do something well, stick to it, prefect it, then evolve it. But don’t keep stealing other people’s cheese.
The more Facebook moves toward the middle of “all” web functionality the more overweight it becomes. My advice: Focus…and let other companies play too. Peace!