The second diary entry from Lazy Acre Records ponders the future of Facebook…
Through my day job and the work I do with this little record label I spend a lot of time in front of Facebook, poring over analytics and looking at new ways of both integrating the site into other media and driving more people into it.
There are hundreds of millions of websites and blogs on the net that all have their own opinions on Facebook, its usefulness, its future and its problems but for my experience, there are a few incontrovertible truths that I have found so far to be self evident:
- More time on Facebook = more interaction with people. Fact.
- More time on Facebook = more CDs being sold through the webstore. Fact.
- For all of the interaction and the “viral reach” posts on Facebook are steadily reaching less and less people. Fact.
Since the site floated recently, there has been a truckload of cynics coming out of the woodwork. And let me say – I agree with a lot of them. I dont like the idea of HAVING to pay for content to appear places and I dont like the stories I’ve seen floated in some quarters about bots inflating click rates on ads and new likes etc (Limited Press for one ran a blog post on their page a couple of weeks back which has since been deleted outlining their own findings on this subject) but I genuinely believe that if Facebook tanks there will not be another one to take its place. Sure there will be social media sites that launch and flicker and then ultimately fail to monetize and die away, but if the sea change that has seen social media become such a huge part of our daily lives is going to continue towards total ubiquity then this one can’t tank. There is simply too much riding on that famous blue logo for it to fail. Too much money, too much hype and ultimately too much face.
Here’s where we all have a part to play here. As record labels we all bitch and moan that people dont want to pay for downloads or music any more. And then in turn we moan that Facebook isnt going to be free any more. But look – in the same way that it costs Tesco money to put that bread on the shelves and it costs me money to put those CDs on the merch table or the webstore, it costs a shitload of cash to ensure that you can reach your friends / family / stalkers with pictures of your cat / dog / dinner / penis 24 hours a day.
Zukkerberg is good but he doesn’t possess the magic to make this stuff happen for free. And honestly having invested in it this far and built up an audience that is starting to see returns, I have little or no inclination to do it all over again. Ive got better things to do than start repopulating and reintegrating and messing around with 100 different things when I could be better off doing something more productive. Like utilising what I already have more effectively.
So no – I don’t like the ads and the somewhat cynical sounding words being thrown around right now, but ultimately I don’t like the alternative. I genuinely feel we have all (all one billion of us and counting) put too much time and effort into this for it to not work now. We all wanted in at the start, if we want it to carry on, I genuinely think we have a part to play here. Plus As a label we have zero budget for the kinds of promotions that many (our peers included) are able to afford to promote their artists and so to be completely honest – for a tenner a month for the sake of argument for a membership – the ability to have my news stories showing up on an equal(ish) par and frequency of the Cokes and Apples of the world is actually (I think) a pretty good deal.
Am I in a minority?