Is There Anything Left For Facebook Alternatives? [opinion]

alternatives to facebookBeing #1 is tough. For any sports fans out there, Facebook is the Patriots, Yankees, and Heat of its kind. The social network is so methodically “good” to the point that we’re ready to jump on the bandwagon of anyone willing to come close to knocking it off. Remember when Google+ first broke news? The Internet was going nuts, buzzing with rumors that Facebook would finally be put to rest. And maybe Myspace’s routine greatness was part of what contributed to its eventual downfall to then-underdog Facebook?

The people of our Internet seem to slowly stir up a resentment towards things that become too popular for too long. Sometimes though, what better choice do you have? I know some people who don’t appreciate the behind-the-scenes antics of Google. Those same people wouldn’t waste a day using Bing. What if you’re a Facebook hater? What is there to salvage elsewhere?

Alright, Back To Myspace

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Not so fast there, guys. Even Myspace knows that they don’t stand a chance anymore, as they were laughed at for introducing Facebook Connect to their login and registration process.

That could just be some brilliant and strategic business move, right? After all, to say Myspace is completely dead would be a huge mistake. At the time of writing up this article, it sits as the 185th most popular website on the Internet (according to Alexa). To put that into some perspective, Tumblr is 36th. MakeUseOf is 755th! Not bad.

If you can make it past the insanely spammy new homepage, give Myspace a spin.

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One of the first things you’ll notice about this new Myspace is their rebranding. Yes, they went as far as to even make the “S” in the name lowercase. Last year, Myspace was sold to Specific Media (an advertising company, mind you) and the company seemed full steam ahead in the efforts to transform Myspace into a musically-charged social network. But why?

Myspace was always big on music, but this revised approach makes little sense to me. Myspace’s backend and profile pages really don’t look much different than I can remember them years ago. They’re still disgusting, cluttered, and sort of  “immature” for a social network in 2012. Out of my 412 friends, two are currently online. I don’t even know who they are or how they got on my friends list, anyway. I suspect they’re spam accounts.

So what exactly is there to do? Well, you can listen to music and glitz up your profile a bit. You’ll get bored very quickly. Myspace offers absolutely nothing that Facebook doesn’t, and Facebook does it better anyway. It kind of reminds me of what you’d get if MTV and VH1 joined forces for their own social network. It’s got some music, a few celebrity features, then a lot of advertisements.

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It’s just beyond repair at this point. It’s a shell of what it once was, obviously, and the shell that it is today is being obscenely gamed with advertisements and things that you don’t care about. Facebook’s big push caused this place to lose critical mass, and it’ll never have the chance to be the same again. If you were into glittery graphics and Flash music players, then this is a painful realization.

We’ll try Google+!

Google+ has got to be good. I can’t remember the last time Google has let me down. Well, except for Wave, Gears, Buzz, and maybe a dozen other canceled products.

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The Google+ formula seemed perfect. It was something new and we were all excited. Some of us even got these exclusive invites that made talking about the social network fun, and we all felt included in something that was about to really take over. Then the network shipped, and it’s been a bit of a dud since.

Honestly, I don’t check my G+ unless it’s to stalk what my MUO friends are doing. A few seem to like the network. The interface is clean and I like the look and feel, but how come no one wants to play there? Is it too fancy? I’ve noticed that a huge portion of active profiles belong to folks in the startup scene and assorted tech junkies. Robert Scoble is a great example.

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I personally follow Mr. Scoble on a few networks, and I’ve managed to notice him trying pretty hard to get people engaged over at Google+. Every now and then, I’ve witnessed a Facebook status of his that actually tries to pull a conversation from his Timeline on FB all the way across the Internet to his G+ profile. He wouldn’t have to do that if G+ was living up to all of the hype.

People are just so invested in Facebook. The roots are so deep that it’s going to be incredibly tough for anyone to come along and snatch them out. Think about what you’ve got on Facebook. You’ve got all of those friends, those memorable statuses, lots and lots of pictures. That’s a lot to leave behind.

I thought G+ was doing it right when they came along with Hangouts and other unique features. This stuff presented new functionality. They were things Facebook users never had before, but it seemed as if they didn’t want or need them.

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It feels a little lonely over there. Definitely not on the same level as Myspace, but is Google satisfied with the network being the preferred choice amongst only the “refined” crowd? Who wants to hang out with a bunch of nerds like me, anyway? I’m not calling out Google+ as a complete failure, but I think it’s safe to say that we all expected more. With the big launch past us and all of the core features already on the table, what can possibly happen to all push us that way?

I don’t think there’s anything. To answer this article’s title, I’d have to say no! What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know.

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