July 31st, 2007 by Lloyd Gofton
It seems everyone is either talking about, or trying to avoid talking about, Facebook at the minute, so I’m steering clear of the subject.
Even the Guardian’s technology section reported on a brief outage at Facebook today, which probably resulted in a huge surge in profitability as the UK’s workforce caught up with work, rather than their friends.
But enough of Facebook, today I will mostly be talking about…hang on, here’s another example; Facebook posts a job listing for a stock administration manager and suddenly the company is floating, as reported by The Times.
This ‘leap’ causes Peter Thiel, Facebook board member and PayPal co-founder to confirm that the earliest Facebook would file for an initial public offering would be 2009, â€œand hopefully not until significantly after thatâ€.
He then went onto propose a figure for Facebook: “It would take a significant sum to gain the managementâ€™s attention. If we got an offer from someone of $10 billion, we would probably listen to them. I donâ€™t think weâ€™re going to get that offer, and weâ€™re not going to solicit.â€
Well I think he just did, and sure enough, the figure is everywhere.
Anyway, I’m not talking about Facebook. The point I wanted to make, was in relation to the effect social networks are having on digital music.
- 53% of people actively surf social networking sites to find music.
- 30% said they went on to buy or download music that they had discovered on a social network site.
The survey also suggests that the number of people illegally download music tracks has risen, from 36% in 2006 to 43% in 2007. Not a huge rise, and the survey doesn’t go as far to suggest a link between social networks and piracy, but does clearly confirm social networks are effecting music consumption.
I would go further. I think the issue is much wider than just music, social networks are having a considerable effect on the way we purchase and communicate, both as individuals and as organisations, in all sectors.
Furthermore, those that thought this effect would only be relevant to techies and bloggers are quickly realising that simply isn’t the case. Take Facebook as an example, I’m continually surprised by the people that pop up on it, people who I thought would have no interest in Facebook, and ping, there they are - poking me. Perhaps that’s the most interesting point; social networks are driving the population online, the various apps act as a magnet and the simplicity keeps them coming back.
We now have a situation where the usage and understanding of social media, in all its forms, is growing consistently. Combine this with widespread access to the web and a new eagerness to join in, and By Jove! I believe we may just have something.
The second dotcom boom may well have a different ending to the first.