Posted by: Blue Heavens | 29 August, 2007

Facebook : Collaboration vs Viral Marketing

Well, we have seen posts about how we should use Facebook to reach out to the masses, for collaboration and discussion and how Facebook kills productivity etc. Have you thought about how effective is Facebook in doing that.


Facebook originally started out as a social networking site meant for college students around the world. It then evolved into an “open” site and exploded in terms of sign ups and usage. However, I deem it not up to standard for companies to spend too much time on looking to gain in-depth participation and information. In my opinion, Facebook to businesses is more a viral marketing tool, a tool to reach out to the masses and increase hype in the shortest period of time possible. Groups, companies, friends, widget developers are using it to gain popularity (or some, notoriety). In its current stage, I believe that much has to be done in improvement for companies to invest substantial time and effort in carrying out discussions in Facebook. It is a social site, and its usage is still pretty much for social purposes.


Why am I criticizing the discussion and collaboration aspect in Facebook? From the groups I have joined and visited, how many discussion threads are actually running in the discussion forum? And of those, how many threads have garnered enough replies to call it a substantial discussion? The common phenomenon is that people find it much simpler and easier to write on Walls and SuperWalls that do not exactly have a directed discussion. It does not appeal to users if they have joined many groups and they would have to micro-manage the forums that they have participated in. I guess it would be better if users could subscribe to various threads and get notified if someone has replied, instead of getting zombified or being spanked. A stronger forum management system could very well be used. There is much that we can bring over from the forum days, such as providing ample categories for the discussion forums.


Community building is the main value proposition for companies looking to participate in Facebook and I would say Viral Marketing is the better choice of company focus than to look into discussion and collaboration.




  1. Facebook is an interesting medium, but my contention is they still don’t have the right array of tools to fit all the different Web 2.0 Personality Types:

    Because of this, they can only be regarded as one possible outlet for messaging. To reach the full audience, messages have to be packaged to suit all the Web 2.0 personality types.

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