Technology lock-in helps Facebook dominate the web
College senior Alyssa Ravasio gave up MySpace on the day she got a Facebook account and never looked back. She has already lost interest in Twitter. But for now, she says, Facebook is keeping her allegiance because of a concept called "technological lock-in." Technological lock-in is the idea that the more a society adopts a certain technology, the more unlikely users are to switch. In other words, the site has become an essential part of her life.
"I think Facebook is the most valuable Internet commodity in existence, more so than Google, because they are positioning themselves to be our online identity via Facebook connect. It's your real name, it's your real friends, and assuming they manage to navigate the privacy quagmire, they're poised to become your universal login. I would almost argue that Facebook is the new mobile phone. It's the new thing you need to keep in touch, almost a requirement of modern social life," Ravasio said to Reuters.
Comscore.com, web marketing research company has also indicated through its survey that Facebook has nearly achieved technological lock-in. In December, for example, Facebook recorded nearly 112 million unique visitors in the United States, compared to 57 million for MySpace and 20 million for Twitter, according to Comscore. Users also spent much longer on Facebook, averaging 246.9 minutes in December, compared to 112.7 minutes on MySpace and 24.3 minutes on Twitter.
"It's something that feeds on itself. The more people who come into the network, the more connected they become to each other and there actually becomes a greater cost to leaving the network. At some point it becomes a critical mass. It becomes so strong that its difficult to unlock and I think Facebook has reached that point," said Andrew Lipsman, Director, Comscore.
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