Is Facebook Connect Ousting Facebook?

We’ve seen that the social media crowd is fickle.

One year the hottest thing around is LiveJournal, next it’s MySpace, next it’s Friendster.

Considering the fact that most of you reading just now scoffed to think that anyone uses any of those platforms anymore, it’s not surprising that there were predictions that Facebook would lose momentum after a year or so as social media fans found other outlets.

Not so. Facebook has actually been increasing in popularity and its users show no sign of intending to go elsewhere. Many attribute this staying power to the fact that Facebook has actually encouraged its potential rivals to use its own platform to talk to new customers.

Third-party software developers work with Facebook instead of creating rival sites, which means that the latest, hottest thing can live and die on Facebook without actually risking the larger platform losing its popularity. There’s always something new and hot to get interested in.

It’s possible Facebook shot itself in the foot with the introduction of Facebook Connect, though. This development lets outside sites become “partners,” which means visitors can log in with their Facebook username and interact with their Facebook friends when they’re no longer on the Facebook site.

It’s one thing when rivals work on Facebook, but it could be extremely risky to chance Facebook showing up on rival platforms. With so many other ways to interact with their favorite Facebook features, will users decide they no longer need to show up on the official Facebook site?

Tweens and Twitter Don’t Mix

Is the younger generation really driving social media as much as we give it credit for?

Twitter is just one of the social media sites that finds the tween demographic (ages 13-17) isn’t all it’s hyped up to be when it comes to determining the longevity of any given service. MySpace, Facebook, Friendster and similar social networking sites all might have initially been picked up by younger demographics, but as they age, they see the ages of the majority of their users trend upward.

One of the reasons for such a shift is that as more adults get involved in any given social media, there start to be more “adult” uses for the service. MySpace, for example, became a way for musicians and singers to market themselves on a free platform. Facebook is certainly still used by youngsters taking the latest quiz about what Hogwarts house they belong to, but it is also used by adults who promote their services and engage in adult conversations and interactions with their peers.

Twitter is especially sensitive for the younger demographic because of its public nature. The whole point of Twitter is that anyone can see – and follow – your Tweets, which makes it a much more public medium than Facebook or Friendster. Adults are usually quite comfortable with controlling the information they put out there, and are more focused on creating interesting conversation.

Tweens, on the other hand, may well be smart to give Twitter a bye until they feel more secure with the world knowing their whereabouts.

Big Pharma Jumps in the Social Media Marketing

Everybody these days is using social media as a marketing tool. So who cares if big pharma gets in on the action? It’s actually a much bigger deal than you may think.

Big pharma is late to the online game largely because it’s an industry prone to huge regulation mistakes. Misleading ads can result in huge lawsuits relating to customer’s health and wellbeing, and that means the pharmaceutical industry treads softly on uncertain ground.

That said, big pharmas doing well online. Johnson & Johnson has a widely-read blog, and many pharmaceutical companies are enjoying the opportunity to connect directly with the communities built around various diseases and ailments that their products treat. People are enjoying the opportunity to get the one-on-one transparency that social media affords from the pharmaceutical industry.

Social media marketing, and the online world in general, remain to play themselves out. There are few regulations over what you can and cannot say online, especially when it comes to such social media tools as Twitter or Facebook. Big pharma has been cautious for good reason, and their arrival on the scene may mean we’ll see internet regulations on online advertising much sooner than previous anticipated.