September 11, 2009Voting with your feet

I’m really excited about Facebook Lite. It’s just the service I’ve been looking for. I don’t use a single third party application on Facebook. I can’t stand having to see all the quizzes and clutter on my friends feed.

I’m a busy man. Just give me the information.

Facebook lite promises to roll back the clock four years and give us the slim, streamlined social networking tool that made MySpace look ugly, primitive and unintuitive. I’ve had a ‘lite’ profile for a while now. No pictures. No surplus user information for third party apps to harvest. No quotes of the day, no videos, just my contact details, alongside the ability to message me and see what I’m up to.

My facebook is just my LinkedIn at play. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

It isn’t perfect yet. It’s still in beta. The text is too big, and I’d like it to be more customizable — there’s some information on the big facebook I might still want to access.

But what interests me is seeing just how many people will switch to Facebook lite once it’s done. I think takeup may well be over 50% — if they can get the interface and integration right. There’s a lot of us who carry on using services like Facebook on sufferance, because it’s there, because it’s the only way of keeping in touch with our friends. We’re the sort of people who grit our teeth and look away in despair, as if a silent fart has drifted across the room, every time you mention Mafia Wars.

We’re the silent majority.

The implications for social media, even if takeup only hits, say, 20%, are obvious — and huge. It means a massive number of users are rejecting the bloatware that’s been foisted on them the past few years. It also means that any links they do share, anything that does go on their profile, will be much more valuable, from a social networking perspective.

Make no mistakes. Facebook Lite isn’t a pioneering project to reduce bandwidth in third world countries, whatever they may say. It’s a system that proves what many of us have been saying all along — when it comes to social media, less is more. Sure, some people twitter every hour. They’re probably the same people who post a dozen quizzes to their Facebook wall every day. But the person who posts just one thing a day, maybe even just one link a week, or even a month — they’re being selective. That makes the value of that post is far greater.

Of course, the new Facebook Lite interface is a lot more like twitter — it does after all focus on status updates. But it remains to be seen if people will use it like twitter. After all, isn’t there already a service called twitter for people who want it?

Anyone who uses social media as a marketing tool should be taking notes.

I’m actually in awe of Facebook for doing this. They’ve differentiated their product for users like me, who are busy and just need the basic facts, from the people who use it for “fun”. My only question is, why didn’t they do it sooner?

Are they worried about the competition? With Twitter on one side and LinkedIn on the other, the answer is almost certainly yes. Facebook lite appeals to users of both.

It’s a stroke of genius.

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This entry was posted on Friday, September 11th, 2009 at 2:13 pm and is filed under Blog, Social Media, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. AnotherGuy says:

    Wow. That is indeed fantastic. I didn’t realize how much I hated the clutter until I switched over. Will be very cool to see what it turns into once the beta is done.

  2. […] any rate, I don’t have much more to add onto what others, including Allday , have already been writing about. So I leave it to you to experience Facebook Lite yourself , […]

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