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The rise and fall (and rise) of Facebook June 18, 2009

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.
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by Clare HE

Just as I was contemplating whether Facebook was beginning to die a slow, gradual death, I was proven wrong.

In fact, three million people proved me wrong. This is the number of people around the globe who were willing to get up at 5am (well, we Brits at least) and snap up their own personalised Facebook URL within the first 12 hours. This seems to prove that, although Twitter is giving it a run for its money (a recent Independent story showed that, in terms of value and users, Facebook is in decline and Twitter, unsurprisingly, is on the increase), Facebook is far from over.

In fact, not only are consumers embracing their new found ‘vanity’ URL’s but I think it’s only a matter of time (days no doubt) that the different industries will begin to use this latest Facebook fad to their advantage. Leading the way is the car industry – VW has today announced that it’s using its vanity URL in a global ad campaign – they have so much confidence in the social network, they’re using this URL as opposed to their own website to drive traffic (excuse the pun).

There has been much media hype around the new service, from the Telegraph to USA Today. And I think it’s a clever ploy of Facebook to re-engage its fans and users. And get the renewed media hype we’ve all been witnessing this week. But it must be pointed out that services like this should always come with some kind of caveat. People are already reported to be taking names that aren’t their own so that they can pretend to be someone else online. This can, of course, cause huge problems in terms of people hacking into other people’s bank accounts and personal social network profiles, for example. Recent Trend Micro research proved this. And people take advantage of this kind of service in other ways too. One of my colleagues tried to Google ‘Facebook names’ on Saturday and ended up clicking onto a site that downloaded a ton of software that soon slowed her PC up considerably – no doubt a pre-meditated virus just for this purpose.

I’ve got a Facebook vanity URL now and will probably soon start sharing it with friends. But I’ll be interested to see how this whole thing pans out in terms of people taking advantage of it. Hopefully the fake vegans and celebrities of this world won’t end up ruining a good service.

Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor

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