Thank you, Zhong, for your valuable opinion!
Although I have not been a fan of Friendster, in S. Korea we did have a story similar to Friendster: I Love school was a big hit in the late-1990s and early-2000s; then, in 2008, Cyworld reached fever-pitch (for a while more S. Koreans used Cyworld than Facebook);
Orkut also was similar (and by 2008 was a “most-visited” website in India and Brazil). Similarly, Friendster in 2008 had the highest number of visitors in Asia, and when it relaunched as a social-gaming site in 2011 it reported having 115-million+ users, but it suspended service in mid-2015 …
So we notice that 2008 was the tipping point for Facebook diffusion, which eventually disrupted all social media platforms which until then had been local-market leaders.
While I do not claim extensive expertise on Friendster, I do believe the reason behind “Facebook success vs. Friendster failure” rests mainly in cultural factors. As I mentioned in class, Facebook started as a US-college culture, then easily and quickly penetrated the general population … Many reasons for this, one being that it originated in that iconic homeland of the collective mind: Harvard! Other reasons are that Facebook has become the benchmark standard of a widely-used social media platform providing general users the combination of “easiness, simplicity, openness, and connectedness (or sense of being connected) to the global network.” Another directly-relevant indication that Facebook itself has become the “community norm based on the global standard” is that EACH and EVERY member of OUR class has his/her own Facebook account!
Yet, network effect (e.g., Chinese population) + government policy (that bans Western social media, and claims that otherwise the Internet would be simply another form of American hegemony) has been canceling Facebook diffusion in China, Russia, etc …
In sum, many concepts/theories we covered in class explain the Facebook dominance in local markets and why and how it deepens. Think, for instance: Network effect/ bandwagon effect; cultural imperialism (Western media/content tends to look superior to Eastern media/content, e.g., Hollywood); diffusion innovation; open API (Yes! Facebook leveraged on openness – many people easily could migrate to Facebook via their Gmail accounts…); ubiquitous mobile technology; etc … Since 2007/2008, all these factors widened Facebook’s user population into older/more general/more global sectors, right?
Any other thoughts or comments?
Here – via cyworld’s own logos – is an appropriate image-summary of the above theme:
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