Facebook-Like Platform: Is IBM Running Out of Ideas?

How saturated is the online social media world nowadays? What is the destiny haunting the new emerging social media tools and networks? Did Facebook lead social media to its final stage of saturation transforming it into an otherwise mass media tool? Are there any limits to incremental innovation? And did real genuine innovation just fade away with time and advanced technologies? Are business giants such as IBM really refining existing platforms or just simply mimicking them?


We can all agree on one crucial point: Innovation is key! Yet, if each social network is a scribble, what happens when too many scribbles are painted on the same board? Loss and confusion indeed!

This brings me back to the article that provoked me to write this piece: “IBM Launched World’s Geekiest Social Network, My developerWorks” and my question is very simple here: Why? Why did IBM invest in people, time, money and resources in order to develop yet another social network for users? Is it concern? Care? Appreciation? Enhancing user-experience?

Well, I personally don’t think so!

Allow me to demonstrate using a few simple equations:

  • Our day is 24 hours and this is a fact.
  • Let’s say that the average sleeping hours are 8 per day, which leaves us with 16 hours.
  • From those 16 hours, we work around 8 hours (and some work up to 10 or even 12).
  • This leaves us with around 6 to 8 hours.
  • This time we have left we need to divide between having meals, resting, using transportation, seeing family and friends as well as using the Internet to check out our e-mails, chat, maybe download music, read articles and of course use our favorite social network to stay in touch with our online communities.

Now, the day will never get longer, we need to sleep and work will never end, and those are yet more facts!

If I am using Twitter + Plurk + Ning + Facebook and it is already taking so many hours from my day, hours which could be spent on doing something more interactive, why would I want to waste more time to sign up and learn how to use yet another social network which really is just another imitation of the one I am currently using and affiliated with?

It doesn’t make sense, does it?

Why don’t those big business giants create joint ventures with existing influential social networks to create unique comprehensive value-added experiences for their users? Do they not recognize that with our busy lifestyles, the saturation of Web 2.0 services will eventually lead us to reach a point of maybe just giving up on those services at a certain point?

* I’d like to thank tina_manthorpe for the scribbles image.

Comments and Reactions

  • http://www.Bilal.ca Bilal Jaffery

    I suggest you look deeper into IBM's innovation in the Social Media space. They have enterprise class social collaboration software already in place. DeveloperWorks is just the start.

    Afterall, you do need to enable the 'facebook' generation when they come into the workplace in the near future. How will they collaborate within the corporate enviornment? It's definitely not going to be through physical memos. ;)

    Facebook is just first generation of a social network and has yet to prove to increase productivity within business envrionments (stuff that puts food on the table). IBM Research has been working on numerous projects that go far beyond that. Have a vist, http://www.ibm.com/lotus

    In conclusion, its about moving and growing away from dating/teen oriented 'social' networking to more productive, knowledge sharing, information management oriented social networking.

  • http://blog.thoughtpick.com/ Beiruta

    Dear Bilal:

    I must admit that I am more than impressed to find that you have eyes all over the social media landscape! I salute you for that!

    Now, moving on, let me be clear about one thing: IBM, in my opinion, has always been one of the top giant companies in its R&D initiatives and thus, naturally, people like me and others do expect continuous creativity followed up with unmatched product/service development. This is why I was motivated to write this post in the first place: I was making sure that IBM still is what we all expect it to be: A company which is able to meet and further exceed our expectations.

    On another subject, I don't know if you have read any other articles on this blog yet if you do, you'll find that I am not a great fan of Facebook yet I believe in its innovation efforts and constant need for introducing new and various tools which make the user experience more valuable. Therefore, I would like to argue against your point: Facebook has been an effective tool for businesses (small and large ones) and it played an important role in making people meet, spreading news and ideas as well as sharing many items of interest easily.

    Finally, I would like to ask you a question: What would motivate me, or anyone else to leave Facebook and join DeveloperWorks apart from your promise that it will be able “to prove to increase productivity within business environments” ?

    Thank you for your time and attention.

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