...this browser should be the epitome of everything we love about the social web and yet the company has seen only moderate success. Flock has been downloaded 7.5 [million] times but has just 1.1 million active users. (Compare that to Firefox's 175 million). Is Flock doing something wrong here? Or is the product just too niche to ever see mainstream success?
Go check out Flock; take a look then come back here. Really, go ahead; I'll wait.
Ok, now. You tell me: why aren't social web users using Flock?
Hmm. Could it be that most of us social web users aren't actually the 20-something hipsters pictured cruising on Flock's front page?
That imagery conveys to me the sense that Flock's users are young, hip, and of impeccable taste in eyewear. If I were trying to get a better understanding of what the term 'social media' meant and I took a look at the 'sell' page of this social media browser, I'd think it was about all of the things that the philistines swear it's about.
So, what is the social media thing and who are the hipsters using it? Well, according to reports, Facebook alone saw a 276% increase in users between the ages of 35 and 54. And the numbers for folks older than 54 doubled. In fact, as of the beginning of 2009, about one million Facebook users were over 54 years old.
I'm a blogger. And a teacher. And a teacher who blogs to teach. I use social media daily for work. As regular readers of this blog know, I run all of my classes -- everything from student classwork to tests and exams -- though blogs, wikis, and social media. So I don't see the Web as a social getaway; I see it as a way to get... in my case to get results in the classroom. For you, it's what ever you make it. In fact, that's sort of the point: social media is whatever you want it to be.
If you use social media to get dates, find cool eyewear, and book cruises, all the more power to you. But I just don't need the pictures of pretty people selling me social media as though that's the point of it.
And I'm sure that it only encourages a one-sided view of the purposes for social media in the mind of many of the folks who are living in a state of constant fear over the flummoxingly rapid growth of participatory culture online.
In terms of Flock, it's the 'over-sell' that just ruins it for me. Seems tone deaf. Sort of like all those former execs in the music industry who just didn't get it.
Maybe I'll be proven wrong. Heck, I'm enough of a hypocrite that I'm happy to take Flock out on a test drive across the Web. But I've already bought into social media. Think of all those folks who've yet to even step onto the lot.