It seems the ‘issue du jour’ in webland these days is ‘Facebook Fatigue’. I’ve never really used Facebook, so I’m by no means an authority on this. But it seems to me that based on what I do know of Facebook the major problem it faces is a lack of friction.
What do I mean by friction? Dating sites are a really good example of this. Why are most dating sites not that good for dating? Because they don’t have enough ‘friction’ built into it. Dating sites are a great example of this because in most cases women get hounded by men on these sites, and often times those are men she would never give the time of day to if she could control it. But dating sites typically don’t value a woman’s attention nearly as much as it should, and therefore attractive women get bombarded by friend requests, IM, winks etc. from guys they don’t want to date. We need friction in life. It takes courage and confidence to strike up conversation with an attractive lady in a bar, but it takes no courage or confidence to hound that lady through a web app. There is a natural, built-in friction/barrier to real-life social behaviour and dating, but if that friction isn’t somehow integrated into the web service, sooner or later people will get overwhelmed and hence burnout ensues.
It seems to me that Facebook has reaped the benefits of low-friction in the form of rapid growth, but if they don’t find ways to integrate more friction into their service soon, people could begin dropping it quickly. A really good example of a dating site that intimately understands the importance of barriers and friction, is.