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February 16, 2008

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One of the things that bugs me about such analysis is that, as of right now, 80% of the world is not yet on the internet. Thus the discussion is implicitly about those within the 20% who choose not to use technology, whereas the 80% don't even have the potential to use the technology.

I won't fight you for a donut if we're both in Dunkin Donuts. ;-)

Hi Tim,

Great post, and I agree totally on the Interruption Economy. Since I became a Facebook user (and yes, I'm one of the GyPSii founders but I still think Facebook is a great site), I've used it on many occasions as a displacement activity. Something along the lines of "I'm in the office, there's a bunch of stuff I should really be doing, but instead I'm going to peruse my friends' friends on Facebook". So yes, like many, I waste time on Facebook.

On the other hand, I can't help wondering if people haven't always had interruptions and displacement activities? Didn't we used to make sure all our pencils were sharpened and spend time filing our notes when we were high school students? Weren't there always all sorts of distractions such as people delivering mail and bringing coffee in the office?

I think two major forces have driven Facebook until now. The first one is people's obsession with discovering more and more people they know (or vaguely know) through this utility. I'd say this is a function of Facebook's initial "acquisition" phase. The second is an ongoing interest in keeping up with your network - users bobbing along and continuing to use Facebook here and there. Facebook's challenge is in dropping as few users as possible as it moves from its acquisition phase into its second phase, retention (the utilitarian phase you mention), which can never be as "hot" as the previous phase. I think this is a challenge every social networking service faces - at GyPSii we're positive we have a service which is equipped to do this, which is why we think we'll be big in the long run.

Thanks, Sam

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