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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Big social sites in decline?

The Wall Street Journal reports there is "a fringe of Internet users now renouncing MySpace and other social-networking sites – not in spite of their popularity but because of it." Because of that, and because the Journal reported that traffic at MySpace and Facebook's fell 4% and 12% respectively in September, a blogger at MediaPost asked, "Are kids getting sick of MySpace and Facebook?" and a blogger at MarketingShift wrote, "MySpace will become like the mall to a teenager on Friday nights. It's too crowded so nobody goes there anymore." I don't think it's that simple. Growth on MySpace and Facebook had to flatten out, but I don't think we're going to see anything like a mass exodus to niche sites any time soon. I think geographically-based social sites or or sites for new-school skiers or skateboarders are just another arrow in teens' social quiver. It's hard to move entire peer groups from one social site to another, and - until all the niche sites are interoperable with email and IM, there will always be a need for one that aggregates friends, potential friends, and even ex-friends who might come back into the circle at one's school. That's my impression of this latest development.


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