Facebook Exodus – For Real This Time Around?

Facebook defines my generation, Gen Y, as it enables us to share everything from our current location to a police stand off. Does that, then mean, Facebook will be able to hold on to Gen Y forever?

Let’s go back in time

In 1998 I create my first email account on Hotmail. Soon after, I create another email account on Yahoo. I use Hotmail heavily, Yahoo is always my second choice. It’s 1999 and I am chatting on mIRC and ICQ with people from all over the world who have discovered the internet and are breaking boundaries of communication. I am living in Dubai and not everyone I know can afford Internet. Net Cafe is how people I know get on the web.

I move to the U.S. in 2002. I meet people who have never heard of ICQ. They use AIM for chatting and AOL for email.

In 2003, I am introduced to Friendster by friends who think I should get on it because it is “cool.” I do and and yes it is “cool.” MySpace is just around the corner from launching and I hop on to that train as soon as it is “cool” in late 2004 and early 2005.

Then came Facebook and I want to be on it but can’t because I don’t have a .edu email. In the beginning, only college students were allowed on it. In 2006, I get my SFSU.edu email and now I am on Facebook. At that point, I have Friendster, MySpace, hi5, Orkut and Facebook accounts. I use Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail for email.

Fast forward to 2011

I am on Facebook (to find out what my friends think), Twitter (to find out what the world thinks) and use Gmail as my primary email. I consolidated because of the many innovations in social networking and the way we communicate. I needed a better way to organize my digital life and I quit other services as soon as I was satisfied with what I was getting. Five years from now, I am sure I will still be using Gmail as my primary email but I am not too sure about Facebook and Twitter, unless of course they keep me hooked by innovating.

Why? I have used and then dropped other similar innovations in the past because they all reached a tipping point. Currently, Facebook and Twitter is where all the “cool” kids are. Infestation of “un-cool” kids is rapidly increasing making both Faceboook and Twitter a public playground instead of a stadium. It’s not just me, there are others who feel the same way. It’s not explicit yet, but implicit signs are all over the place. Both the services are reaching their tipping point.

Here comes more innovation

Google +

Google + is promising geeks that all their ultimate fantasies of creating armies (circles) will change the way we look at things. After Buzz and Wave I thought Google buried its social ambitions for good. With Plus, Google is back in the game and this time it looks like Google did its homework and got things off on the right footing. Plus looks very promising and finally Facebook has a competitor. Monopolies never last forever, until they do, things are disruptive but after a correction everything seems to fall in place. Plus will level the social eco-system and there will be a Facebook exodus very soon – for real this time.


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