Killing the Killer Conspiracies

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal LecterThis guy's a killer. Facebook is not. via Wikipedia

From today's MediaPost Social Media Insider

Killing the Killer Conspiracies

Cue the movie trailer voice: You
thought it was just a social network. Little did you know it would go
on a murderous rampage, killing everything in sight. You can run, but
you can't hide because Facebook's coming after your friends — and then
it's coming after you.

That's the kind of image that comes
from a number of news headlines over the past week. MediaPost had its
share of morbid entries. On Aug. 12, its Around the Net in Online
Marketing newsletter led with the headline, borrowing TechCrunch's
phrasing, "Google 'Knol' No Wiki Killer." TechCrunch reads like a
first-person shooter game, with other references last week to Microsoft
Zune as an iPod Killer, Apple developing a FriendFeed killer, and two references to Facebook "Lite" as a Twitter killer.
When Mashable covered "Lite," it mentioned a "direct assault on
Twitter." That's a little less gory, ratcheting down the mayhem from
"Summer of Sam" to "Law & Order."

My colleague Cathy Taylor continued coverage of the bloodshed, referring to Twitter getting "thrown under a bus"
in her most recent piece. It sounded like the movie "Speed," where
Keanu Reeves wound up under a bus, though that was more of his own
volition. She reviewed some of the carnage in detail, though I'll give
my own highlights here:

  • Facebook acquired FriendFeed. Body count: Twitter (and arguably FriendFeed).
  • Facebook allowed anyone to search all public posts. Body count: Twitter, Google, and Bing (and maybe FriendFeed).
  • Google demoed its new search upgrade, dubbed "Caffeine" that more
    rapidly and prominently indexes social media content. Body count:
    Facebook, Twitter, Bing, and some real-time search engines like
    OneRiot.

    • Facebook banned sponsored status updates. Body count: anyone that would
      attempt to make a business model out of this (yay!).

    Why must
    something new always kill what exists? Can't the new Facebook search be
    an asset for the social network without heralding the death of Twitter?
    A trip to the grocery store is a helpful reminder that new products
    don't inherentlykill off the old ones. Dreyer's wasn't killed by
    Haagen-Dazs, which wasn't killed by Ben & Jerry's, which wasn't
    killed by Weight Watchers. I can't find a SINGLE result in Google that
    matches the exact expression "Haagen-Dazs killer." But "Facebook
    killer" has 372,000 (and another 2,000 in Google's "Caffeine").

    Much
    of the problem comes from the linear thinking of technology pundits and
    journalists. Here's how it works: if Google debuts "Caffeine" at noon
    and Facebook widely rolls out its new search functionality at 3 p.m.,
    then Facebook's move is seen as a response to that. If it happened in
    the reverse order, Google would be seen as responding to Facebook. And
    if over the course of those three hours Twitter was suffering outages,
    both would be seen as a way to cripple Twitter right in its moment of
    weakness.

    Really, Facebook didn't spend $50 million on
    FriendFeed the way someone spends $50 on pants. And someone at Google
    didn't just say they had to overhaul their search engine, the biggest
    and most consistent revenue source in the entire Internet economy, and
    then launch a new trial version that day. Silicon Valley would not be
    such a hotbed of innovation if everything that happened was in response
    to what's posted on TechCrunch.

    The "killer" cliché has
    been tortured so much that it deserves to be put out to pasture. Yes,
    it's another act of violence, but it's a killing to end all killers to
    come. Rest in peace.

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    One thought on “Killing the Killer Conspiracies

    1. These things must be killers in one regard – time. The average user is bombarded with different websites they must go to go, Google, Yahoo, MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, FriendFeed, Flickr, Last.FM, YouTube, the list goes on and on. There’s simply too many sites out there to be part of them all. As one site (or feature) rises in importance, something has to give, unless we expect users to carve out more time to be “wired”.

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