Fickle Social Networkers

Maggie forwarded me a snippet from an article in last week’s NY Times Magazine about music producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin and Columbia Records. Columbia had a group of 20 college interns for the summer and they focus-group tested them as they exited back to school. Mark DiDia, head of operations, had this to share about the output:

The … focus groups … told us that MySpace is over, it’s just not cool anymore; Facebook is still cool, but that might not last much longer; and the biggest thing in their life is word of mouth. That’s how they hear about music, bands, everything.

I haven’t seen the survey data, and the data sample wasn’t large, but assuming the conclusions were sound, I was very much struck by the casualness of the commentary about Facebook.

Facebook started in 2004 focused on college students. Facebook’s future will be wholly defined by how or whether they can extend their service to grow with their demographic. The challenge with this of course is the risk of de-focusing – of ending up serving multiple demographics each in a mediocre way instead of serving a focused market stellarly.

Can a single social network be all things to all people? Facebook is going to try. My gut says it might not be a good idea. It’s going to be wildly educational to watch. If the Columbia Record interns are right, the Facebook user base could be hanging out elsewhere in short order.

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