I spend a lot of time persuading organisations to not see Facebook as a form of media or content platform (i.e. something you need to ‘be in’), but as an infrastructure or tool. This is because consumers / customers / citizens use Facebook as an infrastructure in much the same way as they use a mobile phone network. They don’t use it as a form of media. However, it has occurred to me that a better way of understanding Facebook is to see it as a form of behaviour, because this is probably even closer to an understanding of how people actually use and relate to, Facebook.
Facebook, the infrastructure, just happens to be the tool people are using to learn how to do social networking, in much the same was as Hoover originally made the tool necessary for people to do hoovering.
This has two implications: first I think it bears out my contention that social media strategies have to be based on creating behaviours, not things. And second, in the long-term you can’t own a behaviour (as Hoover discovered). This is something the awfully clever chaps on Wall Street might like to consider when deciding whether to buy Facebook shares.