This question may sound silly, but I’m serious: what? is Facebook?
Did you know Facebook a dating service, Online vacancies, a Version of Craigslist, a new collection from Podcasts and live audio Chat rooms, several Imitators of Zoom, a section for college students only, two different stains for “TV” shows, a feature like TikTok (but bad) and Software, the office worker can use to communicate? On Tuesday the company also did outlined new developments in its efforts to get more companies to Sell goods directly merchandise within Facebook and the company’s other apps.
If you knew Facebook did all of that … Goldstar I guess. You spend way too much time online.
These myriad experiments could lead Facebook from the place where we hang out with other gardening enthusiasts or shout about politics – well, I don’t know what Facebook could be. (Facebook may not know either.)
The company’s constant tinkering begs the question: Is Facebook trying so hard because it’s excited to see what’s next, or maybe because, like its colleagues, it is no longer as adept at predicting and then leading digital revolutions?
Well worth paying attention to the attempts at reinvention by Facebook or whatever it is doing. We might not want to admit it, but Facebook’s choices are changing the way billions of people interact, the way companies reach their customers, and the strategies of every other tech company.
So what’s up? Why is Facebook stuffing its apps with so many new features? In part, I think, we face many successful companies with a mystery: is it better to focus on what made the company a star in the first place, but risk irrelevance if it misses the big new? Or is it smarter to break new ground, but at the risk of tinkering so much that the company kills its golden goose?
I asked my colleague Mike Isaac, an astute observer of the inner workings of Facebook, whether Facebook has tried so many things because it is optimistic about new opportunities or because it is worried about keeping quiet. He said the answer was probably both.
On the optimistic side is the reality that successful companies have a lot of power to repeat their successes. Maybe Facebook’s imitators of Zoom, TikTok or Next door aren’t great, but the company has plenty of opportunities to get the billions of people who use their apps to try it out until everyone we know zooms in on Facebook. Big Tech operates under a sort of Manifest Destiny – a belief that powerful companies can and should constantly push the boundaries of what they do in order to keep growing.
On the front line of fear, it may seem ridiculous that a company should sued and examined because he’s too powerful, he might worry about failing. But Mark Zuckerberg, like many tech bosses, obsessed with the history of technology where evolutionary changes have repeatedly ruined seemingly unstoppable industry leaders.
There is no guarantee that Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp will remain the dominant communication or entertainment options for billions of people. It is far from certain that Facebook, which generates almost all of its revenue from selling ads to companies that want our attention, can figure out how to make money from podcasts or real money Rotate WhatsApp so that a clothes store or a fruit seller sells products.
Mike also asked an in-depth question about Facebook and Google, where some executives are fear the company is no longer inventive enough. Have big tech companies got so big and successful that they lost touch?
Part of the reason Facebook became the company we know today is because Zuckerberg and other executives understood, before almost anyone else, how the internet – and smartphones in particular – would transform human communication and provide new opportunities for Facebook to do to benefit from these interactions. Technical executives are not oracles, but wow, Zuckerberg got some big predictions right.
And the leaders of Facebook most likely hope that all of these inventions will help keep it popular and rich for years to come.
Before we go …
Big Tech makes its case in Washington: Alerted by Congressional legislation that could alter or destroy tech giants like Amazon and Google, Big Tech has mobilized its lobby armies in Washington, report my colleagues. The pushback, also in a phone call between Apple boss and spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, has met with some resistance from skeptical lawmakers.
“We are very free”: My colleagues and the news organization ProPublica examined thousands of online videos that appeared to show people in the Xinjiang region of China in strikingly similar language to deny allegations of state repression. They found evidence that the videos a Chinese government coordinated campaign Shape global opinion by spreading propaganda on sites like YouTube and Twitter.
How not to ruin your work life with technology: For people who work partly in the office and at home, Brian X. Chen suggests which technologies should be used (or not). Two ideas from his column: Consider taking a screen break at the end of each week and calling colleagues on phone.
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