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K-core death spiral
February 27, 2013 9:50 AM   Subscribe


 
yet it sounds like it boils down to invalidating Mom's old question:

If all your friends are leaving $social_media_site would you too ?
posted by k5.user at 10:02 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd see it more as a successful social experiment that burned itself out - sure you can get people to friend people, then friend people they've friended, and so on... But eventually they're going to be done with that and want to do something else.
posted by Artw at 10:07 AM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


If all your friends are leaving $social_media_site would you too ?
posted by k5.user at 10:02 AM on February 27 [+] [!]


eponysterical
posted by fatbird at 10:13 AM on February 27, 2013 [24 favorites]


Friendster was extremely useful for what I did with it back then: get a long list of women to whom I was connected closely enough to make me a presumable-non-axe-murderer. Compared to coping with Salon Personals, it was a godsend.

But what Friendster never did was open up a whilelist-based messaging service that was easy to use. That's the main use for social networking, and the Friendster interface never did a good job of it.
posted by ocschwar at 10:15 AM on February 27, 2013


Apropos defunct sites, pity about k5. I liked it back then.
posted by ocschwar at 10:15 AM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


yes Artw, this is ultimately the problem I have with all social media: what are you supposed to actually do with it?

I mean I was on Facebook as soon as it was open to the public, and it was cool, and everybody was signing up, and I kept waiting for the part where they actually explained what all this was going to be good for, and it just never happened, and now I'm not on facebook anymore and I don't really think I'm missing anything. So what was that all about, really?
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:16 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Friendster was almost totally unusable around 2005 from what I remember...they had some serious scaling problems from the beginning. MySpace replaced them very quickly.
posted by mike_bling at 10:16 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


MySpace replaced them very quickly.

And yet... I have seen the exact same graph except against MySpace's traffic.
posted by GuyZero at 10:17 AM on February 27, 2013


Well, it's an interesting article, and I like the idea of this k-core they talk about, but the article is the argument against online journalism made real. Take this paragraph:

The question, of course, is what went wrong. Today, David Garcia and pals at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, give us an answer of sorts. These guys have carried out a digital “autopsy” on Friendster using data collected about the network before it gave up the ghost.

Grammar? Editing? Pah, Technology Review spits in the face of your puny rule-bound reading experience!
posted by The River Ivel at 10:17 AM on February 27, 2013


Well, as a Twitter user I'd say status updates and messaging is pretty much all you need ones Freinds are in place, but I notice that Facebook is still popular for no reason I can determine.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember signing up for Friendster in college, and then nothing. I didn't use it to meet new people, or keep in touch with old people. That's what email and IM were for. So when I left college I never logged in again, and didn't get back into social networking until Facebook, which these days is a way to get my daily recommended dose of misattributed inspirational quotes imbedded in gifs. Rory Marinich has spoken eloquently about Facebook's utility, so I assume I'm just old.

And isn't Tumblr the new thing, anyway?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:21 AM on February 27, 2013


Artw and Mars: Facebook is how we talk to our parents.
posted by straw at 10:22 AM on February 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Tumblr is the new LiveJournal, Twitter is the new IRC, Facebook is the new e-mail and instant messenger, and App.net is the new Twitter.
posted by mkb at 10:25 AM on February 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'll cop to totally not getting Tumblr as a social thing at all - its a way of doing an image blog, surely?
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do people actually use the chat thing on Facebook? I think that I've used it twice in five years.
posted by octothorpe at 10:28 AM on February 27, 2013


The messaging system and the chat system are not integrated. I hate using the chat client, but I send private messages fairly often.
posted by mkb at 10:29 AM on February 27, 2013


I'll cop to totally not getting Tumblr as a social thing at all - its a way of doing an image blog, surely?
posted by Artw


I totally agree. I don't understand how its social at all. I DO have one, but I don't interact with other people there - I just simply use it as another place to post photos to reach an audience... although how or why THEY are finding my work on Tumblr is a mystery to me.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:30 AM on February 27, 2013


I was the first of my no-longer-in-college cohort to sign up for Facebook, and it was a ghost town (for me) for at least a year. It only became useful in the brief period starting with my friends signing up, declining rapidly with the ascendance of Farmville updates, and ending with Facebook's original sensible privacy settings (Friends and Family for everything, either by default or not too hard to set) being replaced with an option panel with what seemed like 70 different privacy checkboxes and widgets, in a two layer deep tree, with a few new checkboxes added each week.
posted by zippy at 10:31 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do people actually use the chat thing on Facebook? I think that I've used it twice in five years.


All the time. And the fact that it falls back to PMs is a nice touch.
posted by ocschwar at 10:32 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]



Artw and Mars: Facebook is how we talk to our parents.


Maybe it's because I'm parent age myself but Facebook is how I talk to all manner of people who I don't really have the time to see in any kind of regular way. This includes everyone from old friends who live continents away to friends-of-friends who I've never consciously even met (but they seem cool enough based on their posts), to the guy upstairs who works nightshifts. It's in no way an effective replacement for actually seeing people, touching them, smelling their breath ... but it's better than nothing.

Which would be a helluva good advertising slogan, I think. "Facebook: Better than Nothing."
posted by philip-random at 10:32 AM on February 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


octothorpe, I use the chat function fairly frequently. Sometimes I see someone is online and it reminds me that I meant to tell them about XYZ, so I seize the moment and tell them XYZ. Or there's a back and forth on a post and I chat use it to have a somewhat off topic side conversation.
posted by vespabelle at 10:35 AM on February 27, 2013


I don't enjoy chat as a medium. I disabled it so people would stop sending me chat requests.
posted by brundlefly at 10:38 AM on February 27, 2013


Re: Facebook...

Chatting and private messages ARE integrated.

Facebook makes it easier to share content (links, photos, videos) without plugins, leaving the page or URL shorteners.

Farmville and 95% of other third party apps have been blocked on my profile since 2010, haven't been bothered by them since.

Facebook profiles also make it easier to show interaction and two way conversations. As stupid as "posting on your wall" sounds (very stupid intend), its still about 40x more interesting to stalk facebook freinds than twitter friends.
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:38 AM on February 27, 2013


I was really into Friendster for a while, but I recall that they unveiled a "feature" that really did show you who had "visited" your profile. It was horrifying. Without the ability to stalk privately, myself and most people I know, walked away. Friendster did not understand many of the subtleties of what made social networking good (Google still doesn't, though I had high hopes for Orkut back in the day).
posted by mattbucher at 10:39 AM on February 27, 2013


I mean I was on Facebook as soon as it was open to the public, and it was cool, and everybody was signing up, and I kept waiting for the part where they actually explained what all this was going to be good for, and it just never happened, and now I'm not on facebook anymore and I don't really think I'm missing anything.

It's a way to maintain contact with lots of people. I really enjoy Facebook because I know so much more about the day to day doings of friends and family I wouldn't otherwise hear much from. I've reconnected with lots of people from the past whom I would probably never otherwise have heard of again, and sometimes we wind up with a new relationship because a rapport just grows out of naturally increasing back and forths. If I have some sort of announcement to make to everyone I know, I'm able to make it with a few keystrokes. When my brother died in late 2011, once I was sure all my family had been told, I was able to tell over a hundred of my more casual friends about it by simply linking to his obituary — I appreciated that so much because it was really hard to have to keep going over the basic details with so many people.

And if you have some sort of project or business you want to promote, Facebook is amazing for that. Facebook is the best single source of traffic my blog has, and it doesn't cost me anything at all. I can also connect with other businesses and platforms in the industry by having my blog's Facebook page "like" their page and checking out my blog's resulting news feed.
posted by orange swan at 10:42 AM on February 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


its still about 40x more interesting to stalk facebook freinds than twitter friends.

I'm finding Twitter very frustrating to use because you actually have to open links to see things and the 140 character text allowance is just too restrictive. And I don't like Pinterest because it's basically all visuals. The Facebook format allows us to post and view both text and visuals, and it's a much more holistic and satisfying experience for both poster and viewer.
posted by orange swan at 10:48 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't enjoy chat as a medium.
posted by brundlefly


More into table-rapping and ectoplasm?
posted by COBRA! at 10:50 AM on February 27, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's in no way an effective replacement for actually seeing people, touching them, smelling their breath ... but it's better than nothing.

It's kind of like the answering machine of the 21st Century.

Jerry Seinfeld had a bit on an episode of Seinfeld in season 3 or 4 where he talked about the answering machine as a way to keep relationships, that otherwise would have died years ago, alive. And the disappointment he felt when the actual person picked up instead of the machine.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:55 AM on February 27, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was really into Friendster for a while, but I recall that they unveiled a "feature" that really did show you who had "visited" your profile. It was horrifying. Without the ability to stalk privately, myself and most people I know, walked away.

I'm laughing at this, because it you're horrified over the idea that someone would know you were stalking them rather than by the idea that you are being stalked.

It's exactly how I would react as well.
posted by orange swan at 10:58 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyone remember the secret code you had to enter in order to join Friendster?

I'm pretty certain it was Coke.

My internet claim to fame is that I was the 13,000th person to join Friendster. Almost in at the ground floor.


....it goes without saying that I am not internet famous.
posted by cloeburner at 11:01 AM on February 27, 2013


they had some serious scaling problems from the beginning. MySpace replaced them very quickly.

My role at MySpace was not infrequently described as "not letting it friendster". Not that we didn't have many problems, but at least back-end scale was rarely #1!
posted by flaterik at 11:58 AM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


I mostly use Facebook as an asynchronous way to keep in touch with my family and friends. Working shift work can be really isolating, so being able to roll in from work at midnight and have a lovely list of things my peeps have been doing that day is neat.
posted by Jilder at 12:09 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do not want to live forever. I don't even care if I live very long. But I want to live long enough to see Facebook end.
posted by MoxieProxy at 12:31 PM on February 27, 2013 [9 favorites]


One hypothesis: Facebook will never die; eventually it'll become just the standard way to prove your identity to the authorities and your creditworthiness to financial services companies. It'll be where you have your relatives, employers, the minister of your church, the best man at your wedding and other people whose connection to you provides social proof of your good standing in official society. For everything else, there'll be a profusion of other boards, with diffuse microidentities.
posted by acb at 12:37 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


App.net is the new Twitter

Ha. No.
posted by chasing at 12:39 PM on February 27, 2013


The comment in the article about costs outweighing benefits is interesting to me. I'm a heavy Facebook user--I have a community of friends I see at gatherings twice a year, and it has really helped me get to know them better and keep in touch between gatherings. My homeschool group also uses it for a lot of communication, and it's a great place to say, "Can anybody watch my kids on Friday afternoon?" so you don't have to ask people individually.

That said, the ever-more complicated privacy settings, combined with weirdnesses in what posts you're shown and not shown, is tipping it toward "more trouble than it's worth" for me. I don't want to have to re-learn and re-set my settings every few months; I don't want to set individual preferences for every single friend and acquaintance, especially when they don't seem to "take" half the time. There's also increasing trouble about how my friends use it--the amount of joke e-cards and the misquoted inspirational GIFs mentioned above and political posts that my friends are making is drowning out the "this is what's happening in my life" posts I prefer.

So far, the cost of dropping it has still been too high for me--Facebook is how a lot of people who don't understand RSS feeds find my blog posts, for instance, and there's nothing that would easily replace it for keeping in touch with my gathering friends. Also, a lot of communication has shifted there--local homeschoolers are more likely to organize and announce field trips and events on Facebook than on the e-mail lists that used to get heavy use. I'd have missed hearing about an upcoming orchestra concert outing, for instance, if I weren't on Facebook. So, I'm not giving it up yet, but I feel like I'm balanced on a thin edge.
posted by not that girl at 12:47 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I use Facebook to keep track of local bands I like, local craft breweries and other local stuff that's also posted elsewhere besides keeping up with my friends and family. In other words, it's a news aggregator for me.

Oddly enough, I have some of the same friends on Google+ but they never post anything. My Google+ timeline (or whatever they call it) is mostly posts from a couple of web comics I like and "What's Hot and Recommended". As long as I read comics daily, I have no compelling reason to visit Google+, despite its theoretical superiority to Facebook.
posted by tommasz at 1:01 PM on February 27, 2013


Ooooh, opportunities to show off hipsterness abound here!!

One can claim you were on Friendster first,
or left it first,
or how you never got on Facebook and wtf is it now anyway,
or how you were on MySpace for a bit - but got out of that shit immediately,
or how you wish xanga (right?) had taken off, cause that thing was the beez neez,
or how Facebook was good up until revision 20, but now it just sucks so you left,
or remorse about how LiveJournal used to be awesome but now its just furries and slash,
or lol at G+.

I don't see it yet, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly to fuss about Twitter going down the drain and how they left that months/years ago and are using xyasdqfave.com now.

Let's all pat ourselves on the back for being on the cutting edge!
posted by ish__ at 1:06 PM on February 27, 2013


ish__: "or how you wish xanga (right?) had taken off, cause that thing was the beez neez"

You spelled Beenz wrong.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:12 PM on February 27, 2013


What I actually find frustrating is that my various circles of friends are not all on one service. I have Facebook Friends, and Twitter Friends, and Google Talk Friends, and Instagram Friends, and there's no correlation between what social media service I communicate with them on, and when I met them. So I have a slight presence on all these different services, and I have to repost anything interesting in my life to four different places to make sure everyone sees it. That RebelMouse thing from a few months ago seemed like an interesting solution to this problem, but it mostly seems annoying now.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:13 PM on February 27, 2013


Facebook and Twitter, being free services funded by an ad market in which the cost of impressions isn't guaranteed by any means, will have to throttle up the amount of ads shoved into your eyeballs, whilst doing so subtly enough to avoid you, the frog, from jumping out of the increasingly warming pot. (That and holding your connections for ransom without explicitly saying so; you can't see someone's non-facebook.com email address unless they're the sort of heavy power-user who specifically set it up to be visible, and now only the people with the most active connections to you are likely to see a post by you that you haven't paid $5 or so to sponsor.)

This will hold for a while, just as the crappy, spammy mess that was MySpace did, held together by the sheer inertia of network effects. Though eventually dissatisfaction will reach a critical mass. If Facebook can by then transform itself into an official social-identity service, something you have to be on to get a job/prove your creditworthiness/deal with the government (and have to have a non-blank profile/activity stream to actually get a positive trustworthiness rating where it is used), that might save it, turning it into a cost of participation in modern society.

As far as the fun stuff goes, the next thing may well have a freemium model à la Flickr/app.net, where you pay for knowing that you're the customer and not the product. Or even a federated model, where everything from spammy, no-frills free nodes to “platinum class” nodes with personal concierge service, are able to interact in the same social space.
posted by acb at 1:32 PM on February 27, 2013


yes Artw, this is ultimately the problem I have with all social media: what are you supposed to actually do with it?
I mean I was on Facebook as soon as it was open to the public, and it was cool, and everybody was signing up, and I kept waiting for the part where they actually explained what all this was going to be good for, and it just never happened, and now I'm not on facebook anymore and I don't really think I'm missing anything. So what was that all about, really?


Mars, I think you and I are the only people on the planet who have thought this. Seriously, I signed up and was BORED within 24 hours. And then I drifted off and ignored it. And then everyone else fell in love with it and insist that I use it constantly, and I tell them I don't want to and they whine at me.

I swear, it's like everyone else picked out the shittiest bar in town and now they always want to go to it. Meanwhile, I think it's the size of a closet and there's no booze there I like and nothing to do.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:41 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


For everything else, there'll be a profusion of other boards, with diffuse microidentities.

I for one welcome our new microid entities.
posted by zippy at 2:23 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hope someone uses "K-Core Death Spiral" as a name for an industrial band at some point.
posted by BigBrooklyn at 2:49 PM on February 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


I thought this thread was going to about some punk or visual kei out of Seoul.
posted by maryr at 3:50 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh boy, I definitely meant "now integrated" above there.
posted by mkb at 6:09 PM on February 27, 2013


if twitter is the new irc then western civilization and technological development are uniformly a failure
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 7:07 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is the combination of a low cost-to-benefit ratio and a vulnerable k-core distribution that is fatal for social networks.

One of the benefits of Facebook in my world is the high k-core towards family and 'light friends' makes the risk of them calling, coming over, finding me elsewhere drops down. Light, low-impact social lubrication is a huge benefit.
posted by DigDoug at 5:10 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: low-impact social lubrication
posted by zippy at 10:19 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


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