Skip to main content

Facebook and other prominent social networks are akin to cancer not the common cold.

A recent study is getting the zeitgeist in a fluff over the possible survival of Facebook. 

Eh. No.

Like most such analysis it fails to factor in the importance of network effects that tie people to the social network in the first place.

The main advantage that Facebook has (and all similar social networks across the globe that have gained dominance in those areas) is that they have enabled people to connect in one system a distributed set of nodes of people they have interacted with in real life plus people they interact with virtually.

The value of this network of connections far exceeds any disadvantage that comes from being bored on the service.

Over and again I've seen people claim that they are leaving FB ONLY to come back, the pattern is that those with established and large networks simply can't escape the convenience of being able to chirp to their entire life network (from childhood friends to college class mates to coworkers) via one tool.

This should sound familiar, it is the same reason that most of us have only one major email provider. Once on it, and once we've created our common contact patterns we have no desire to move as telling those contacts our new email is often annoying (it's not hard, but it's annoying).

It's even more difficult on a social network where you have to get each node to MOVE to the new location you are headed to...this is exponentially more difficult the more nodes you have in your network and thus harder for people to move. Also, by consolidating features of interest across the things people do online it makes it difficult to hop.

This is why Google+ is a separate island of people situating themselves there instead of on Facebook, once their networks are built there...they will similarly be immune to hopping over to another network (Facebook being the only viable option in the US).

The correct analogy then for a social network is not any viral or bacterial it is an oncogenic one, cancer. And as we all know cancer doesn't die .........................until it has either been directly handled via treatment otherwise it goes on to always kill the host. ie. people will die on facebook.

I wrote about this in a blog post from 4+ years ago:

"The proof of all this consolidation is clear in the numbers, users spend incredible amounts of time on the Facebook network...doing all these things they formerly did on different sites. Now, think...with such a huge investment made in having all ones interaction, content and community in one site...what on Earth can get them to switch en mass ?

I'll answer,

nothing. Barring a catastrophe on Facebook's end...they will be the last of the social networks and if they avoid Google's response (their only real competition in that they are the only ones with a suite of products that can be woven together to provide a similar experience fast enough and have a user base broad enough to maybe slow their growth) "


Popular posts from this blog

Highly targeted Cpg vaccine immunotherapy for a range of cancer


This will surely go down as a seminal advance in cancer therapy. It reads like magic:

So this new approach looks for the specific proteins that are associated with a given tumors resistance to attack by the body's T cells, it then adjusts those T cells to be hyper sensitive to the specific oncogenic proteins targeted. These cells become essentially The Terminator​ T cells in the specific tumor AND have the multiplied effect of traveling along the immune pathway of spreading that the cancer many have metastasized. This is huge squared because it means you can essentially use targeting one tumor to identify and eliminate distal tumors that you many not even realize exist.

This allows the therapy for treating cancer to, for the first time; end the "wack a mole" problem that has frustrated traditional shot gun methods of treatment involving radiation and chemotherapy ...which by their nature unfortunately damage parts of the body that are not cancer laden but …

Engineers versus Programmers

I have found as more non formally trained people enter the coding space, the quality of code that results varies in an interesting way.

The formalities of learning to code in a structured course at University involve often strong focus on "correctness" and efficiency in the form of big O representations for the algorithms created.

Much less focus tends to be placed on what I'll call practical programming, which is the type of code that engineers (note I didn't use "programmers" on purpose) must learn to write.

Programmers are what Universities create, students that can take a defined development environment and within in write an algorithm for computing some sequence or traversing a tree or encoding and decoding a string. Efficiency and invariant rules are guiding development missions. Execution time for creating the solution is often a week or more depending on the professor and their style of teaching code and giving out problems. This type of coding is devo…

First *extra Galactic* planetary scale bodies observed

This headline

So every so often I see a story that has me sitting at the keyboard for a few seconds...actually trying to make sure the story is not some kind of satire site because the headline reads immediately a nonsense.
This headline did just that.
So I proceeded to frantically click through and it appears it was a valid news item from a valid news source and my jaw hit the floor.
Many of you know that we've been finding new planets outside of our solar system for about 25 years now.
In fact the Kepler satellite and other ground observatories have been accelerating their rate of extra-solar planet discoveries in the last few years but those planets are all within our galaxy the Milky Way.
The three major methods used to detect the bulk of planets thus far are wobble detection, radial transit and this method micro lensing which relies on a gravitational effect that was predicted by Einstein in his general theory of relativity exactly 103 years ago.