It’s my house. It’s my party.
Khürt feels that social networks are not like jails, because you’re not being held at gunpoint and must stay. They’re like a house party, sponsored by Khürt. It’s his house and he can boot you any time. But that also means that you can leave whenever you want.
I don’t think that analogy is correct.
Social networks are like a sponsored agora – an open space that feels like a welcome hangout spot, but which are nevertheless run by someone. That someone can have their security guards kick you out, or you can up and leave.
But you’re not staying because you’ve made your peace with the privacy issues. You’ve made your peace with the privacy issues because all your darn friends are there and it feels good to hangout with them.
But that arbitrariness is what has caused problem for twitter and Facebook before. If it truly were their party, people who are kicked out would be blamed for their misdeeds. But that’s not how it works. Increasingly, you see that these networks make the mistake of kicking someone popular off, or kicking them off for the wrong reasons, and a cycle of blaming these networks runs its course.
It’s their house, but it’s not their party. The party is brought there by the people. In Facebook’s case, the party was brought there by the people signing up from their college times. In twitter’s case, the party was equally brought by the people as well as the developers.
Twitter chose to kick out developers a few years ago and they’re still reeling from the effects of that move. It’s held on to the people because of the critical mass. Same for Facebook (critical mass and dirty moves in that case).
If enough people leave Facebook today, as they did Uber during the #deleteUber campaign, and MySpace during its years of attrition, and tumblr during their recent purge, the party gets dull. No matter what the host does then, the party is already dead, it just needs to get called.
That time has not come for WhatsApp or Instagram, but has pretty much come for Facebook. People are tired of the big blue’s shit. They just can’t leave yet because of all their friends there. The next generation chose to skip Facebook altogether and just go for SnapChat. How long can Facebook keep the party running?