Looking for the anti-Facebook

By Steve Outing

I like Facebook … a lot. Since it opened up to everyone (not just college students), and since it opened up to third-party applications, the site has become enormously useful. It even seems to be usurping the much more business-like social networking site LinkedIn. In the last couple weeks — through a combination of business colleagues “friending” me and me reaching out to “friend” people I know in my industry — my Facebook friends list has overtaken my LinkedIn friends list, by about double. (It’s less of a social friends thing for me, and more of a business tool.)

I think what I prefer about Facebook over LinkedIn is that it does combine business and personal. You can find out some personal things about me on my Facebook profile, such as my political bent, and find photos from family vacations. Some people I know dislike Facebook exactly because of this, not wanting to mix their personal and business lives. It’s probably not for everyone, but I like this aspect of Facebook.

But while Facebook is great (IMHO), it’s not good for everything, and I think there’s a place for niche social networks in our lives as well. My company is in that business, so of course I believe that. I just noticed this quote from Sheila Lennon’s Subterranean Homepage News blog, which I think points to the opportunity that companies like mine are addressing:

Facebook is the opposite of what I’m looking for

Somewhere, I like to think, there is or will be a network comprising only those who can find it. And when I finally stumble in there, they’ll say, “We’ve been waiting for you.”

It’s not Facebook, a “social network” of 30 million or so.

Author: Steve Outing Steve Outing is a Boulder, Colorado-based media futurist, digital-news innovator, consultant, journalist, and educator. ... Need assistance with media-company future strategy? Get in touch with Steve!