As I watched FriendFeed and Twitter scroll by with updates about social media, lifestreaming and the mainstream, I realized something. I think the “early adopters” are wrong. For lack of a better option, I am lumping myself in this group as well. As usual, Louis Gray has a fantastic post about lifestreaming and participation. Today, Robert Scoble talked about how late adopters use Google to get into social media. I also saw a bunch of articles regarding changes to Yahoo Buzz. People were also complaining about Facebook applications through Twitter. I think seeing all of this at once made me realize why we are wrong. Scoble had the right idea, Google is leading the masses into blogs and things like that. But basic searches only get you to a single blog. How do the mass consumers find the rest of social media?
Enter Facebook applications and Yahoo Buzz. Yahoo Buzz gives users a way to vote on stories to make them popular. The stories are lumped into topics like Politics, Sci/Tech and others. RSS or any other type of feed is an afterthought, and this can be seen by the placement of the feed icon for a topic. However, Buzz gives the mainstream a gentle introduction into social media. It does not flood them with information, it provides a nice interface that lists stories from “large” sites. They are gathering more information sources, but the gentle introduction is probably best. Why? Because people do not like change. They really do not like drastic change. So, small baby steps may help the masses inch ever closer to social media.
Facebook also provides this type of baby step approach. People have heard of MySpace and Facebook. Even the masses realize that Facebook is the place to be. They now have chat in Facebook. Many internet services are building applications for Facebook. Why is this important? Well, those little applications provide entertainment and diversion. Most people do not live in Firefox all day like many early adopters. They use the internet for a quick search and some email. Social networks are mostly mainstream now, and a simple application in Facebook could give someone insight into some other service. Soon, someone will see that there is a FriendFeed application and wonder what the hell is FriendFeed.
That is the tipping point and why services like FriendFeed (within the confines of Facebook) will continue to get large amounts of funding. When the mainstream finds FriendFeed and realizes how interesting lifestreaming is, that is when the flood will begin.