Bebo cannot hold in the face of Facebook
The few who to continue to hold allegiance with Bebo must, sooner or later, realise their insanity. The site lacks in many ways—a cluttered interface, unintuitive navigation and pitiful privacy options to name a few—but it is in the sole remaining point of the Bebo-loyal, that “everyone’s on Bebo”, that lies the most ill-founded assertion. In time, even the most conservative of social networking site users will be forced to realise Facebook‘s superiority in almost every possible way.
It was at the International Chemistry Olympiad that I was introduced to Facebook. Talk of participants from 65 countries keeping in touch centred around the site, and when we put in our two cents: “What’s Bebo?” they would say, almost all of them, except for the few who had heard of it, who commented, “Oh, but no-one uses it, we’re all on Facebook.” We quickly realised that Facebook was where we would find our international friends. New Zealand—a country known for trailing the world in anything remotely technological—is quite probably the only Bebo stronghold left. And in an increasingly global society, even that’s weakening.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Facebook is so much more popular. Unlike Bebo, it is based on the principle that people and their connections are real. Real names are used and Facebook-ers are encouraged to connect with their real friends as in the real world. In this way, Facebook has managed to create a social environment where so much is hidden, kept private for safety reasons, but which feels remarkably open. That, combined with a simpler, more straightforward, easier-to-use and nicer interface, makes it a far more pleasant place to keep in touch with people.
Bebo-ers who make the transition can sometimes be initially baffled by Facebook’s many useful features, finding the idea of “applications”, and the navigation’s making everything a click away, confusing—but those who know both more often than not hold the opinion that Facebook is, to put it simply, better. Facebook’s applications, which means third-party developers can contribute all sorts of fun activities to the social utility, has been one of the most popular parts of Facebook. It is no surprise that, last month, Bebo followed suit, launching “Bebo Apps” and—realising they were on the back foot by six months—designing it so that Facebook applications were compatible.
You cannot get bored on Facebook, and the success of its developers shows in the numbers. At time of writing, Facebook boasts some 59 million users (ref); Bebo has 40 million (ref). Do not be fooled into thinking the two social networking sites are equivalent. They are fundamentally different, and both its core principles and interface design put Facebook on the higher step. New Zealand cannot remain behind the world for much longer. Australia and the United Kingdom—both once Bebo countries—have made the switch, with Facebook traffic exceeding Bebo in both. (ref: Aus, UK) It’s about time the Kiwis caught up. Forget Bebo. Facebook’s where it’s all happening.
Permalink to earlier related post
- Virtually wasting a life away (Facebook), 16 September 2007