Facebook is NOT about friendship or networks

“Google is to Search, as Facebook is to (what)…?


Facebook, Google.
You know these two companies. You probably use them both on a weekly, if not daily, basis.
Behind the scenes, these two complex web giants have a single linchpin they build all of their business strategies around:


The observation:

Google is all about Search.
Everything Google does is centred around that one little Search box; that box which has made them trillions of dollars.

Facebook is all about Like.

Everything they do is centred around that one little Like button; that button which will shortly make them trillions of dollars.

The reasoning:

When Facebook began, it was all about friendship and networks. This helped them to reach far, far beyond what anyone would constitute as their “critical mass”. Friends, acquaintances, aunts, uncles, mums and dads all joined to build Facebook’s monopoly of 400 million active users. I myself, a daily user of Facebook (for better or worse) was somewhat critical of Facebook’s longevity as it became less private and progressively very, very accessible & public to the world; and to people like my parents (which was one of the reasons I left MySpace for Facebook to begin with!).

I’m going to make a bold claim here, it’s becoming clear that:

Facebook is not about friendship,
Facebook is not about networks;
Facebook is about Liking, and the connections that eventuate via this “Like principle.

We’re beginning to see a repositioning of their business model and strategy towards this concept.

Facebook is making a big move and taking progressive steps to highlight the social act of liking something. All of Facebook is designed around this idea. For example, when you add a friend you’re essentially liking that person. On Facebook we like celebrities, brands, videos, posts and anything else they can slap that Like button on!

It’s becoming clear to me that Facebook’s monetisation strategy is no longer about targeted ads based on your age, sex, location, marital status; but about collecting data and monetising the natural, instinctive social act of liking things.

I’m excited to see how Facebook goes about doing this. Expect to see a lot more of Facebook’s focus on the “Like Principle“.

You heard it here first on Who Is Adam Jaffrey‽


Finally, a shout-out to Julien Smith who inspired this post through his comments on the Six Pixels of Separation podcast (iTunes link), in the episode titled SPOS #203 – Media Hacks #29.


Update (18/06/10): Facebook has just launched the Like feature for individual comments. Another step in the direction of the “Like Principle“. Read more about it on the Facebook blog.

6 Replies to “Facebook is NOT about friendship or networks”

  1. Oh cool, this is absolute genius! Why have you not won a NOBEL PRIZE?!??!??!


    I bow down before the king of the internets!

    Who is Adam Jaffrey? A PIONEER of dynamic revolutionary insight in this cold magmatic world!
    The true synergy of this blog defies the usual mundane misinformed ramblings of the huddled techno-masses. Who will save us from the corporations who insist upon enslaving us? Is this “Adam Jaffrey” a hero for the future of webciety? I sure do hope so, for when people believe they are free but are led to do so by big business there can be no stopping the onslaught of mind control. Thank you my internet friend and best wishes for your courageous attack on the “freedom” of the interspace highways! It is true that the faceless few will make their own “facebook” of threats against them and destroy those who speak out!


    You sir will change everything!

    Long live the king of interspace freedom!



  2. facebook is about friendship and networking to some degree anyway. Thats in fact one of their strong points. Your friends can see what you do..such as liking which brings it to the attention of others as it appears on their feed. I think these are important factors in facebooks success

  3. @Anonymous #3

    Facebook certainly is about connections. But what I contend is that they are building their service around this new “Like Principle” and how people interact with it and through it.

    Facebook's two biggest goldmines are:
    1) the amount of data they're sitting on, and
    2) the potential they have for amazing word of mouth marketing (i.e. recommendations through your Facebook connections) via Facebook's Like feature.

    At the end of the day, Facebook is a private company who's main concern is turning over a profit (and a nice one at that). My assertion is that they're beginning to leverage the critical mass they've acquired toward generating large revenues via this Like feature.

    This blog post is a bit of a “Watch this space”, if you will.

  4. From Anon2,

    Just having fun, I seriously am glad that people actually care about what these internet companies are doing with information and how they operate in such a businesslike way whilst trying to appear innocent.
    I have seen a few blogs similar to this with the same message and ideas so there are a few people who are interested in this subject!

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