Microsoft invests in Facebook. And there is glee:
“Once a social operating system takes over a country it’s like it becomes the native language of that country,” said Lee Lorenzen, a venture capitalist who is bullish on Facebook and notes that Google’s Orkut dominates Brazil, Friendster dominates the Philippines and Facebook is becoming the dominant forum in the United States, Canada and Western Europe.
Facebook boosters say that social networking represents the future of online activity. Advertisers are attracted to these properties because they offer an opportunity to aim ads to particular users interested in their product or service.
Is Facebook, and social networking in general, the “social operating system” of the future? Maybe, and that’s why Microsoft is interested. Operating systems abstracted us from the inner workers of the computer. Web browsers abstracted us from the operating system. Why not a “social networking” layer?
But it seems like there are two big strikes against the Microsoft-Facebook deal becoming the Greatest Thing Ever. One, the fact that sites like Facebook are “attractive” to advertisers, likely just means “more ads” for the site’s users. Companies quickly forget about the users, and turn to making the next buck as the prime motivator for business.
The other problem is that Friendster, if you remember, at one point was the coolest site around. MySpace seems to have gone down in status, as people built up Facebook. Social networking sites seem to have a fickleness factor. More ads, and something else better comes around, and it’s a few billion dollars down the drain.
It very well may be that social networking sites are the new OS, but it’s not that clear that Facebook will remain at the center.