Today I was updating my Facebook profile with my current and latest jobs. Facebook has become even more important than Linkedin when it comes to networking for job opportunities. Since the connections are very personal the level of trust between the connections is very high. For the work market this has made it easier to use real world network to find a job. I just wish the way my information is shown could have been more clear. I hope Facebook implements this soon.
Even though Linkedin is less personal the network aloud you to look for new talents on the whole new level. Here you can find and connect with people in very particular areas on very high levels very far out of your own sphere.
But as with Facebook, you had to know the person to connect with them. You could still send a request to anyone but you had to await their approval to connect with them. Now what Linkedin has started to charge for connecting with people. If they are connected to you more than three connections away on Linkedin, you have to pay to become a premium member to be able to send requests.
The same business model is also recently implemented on Argentine sites Mercado Libre and Comparto Depto, the first one the Argentine version of Ebay and the second the Argentine version of Craigslist.
At Mercado Libre your add will be shown to more people the more you pay.
At Comparto Depto you can send people that rent out apartments messages and by that apply for the apartment.
Both these sites charges for a service that people truly needs. The price is pretty low compared to what you get access too, and therefore the entrance to enter is low. People in Argentina are ready to pay for this service.
We could see Facebook take the same direction but that would be a risky step. This could mean that the users have to decide who they are prepared to pay to become a friend with. But if the price is low and the value of what the service provides to you, people would pay for it.
Spotify is an example of a monthly subscription app that has succeeded in gaining a big loyal group of users that finds the value created by the service worth paying for.
Facebook has managed to make people sign up and visit the service regularly. Brands marketing on the site has also started to become more intrusive, lately with sponsored status updates in the news feed. People definitely start to become ready to pay to avoid this.
I remember myself how intrusive the ads on Spotify had become shortly before myself and everyone I knew in Sweden started to pay for Spotify. During one spring, in the student block where I was living at the time, between the songs people played on speakers placed on their balconys the music was regularly cut of by advertising. This was annoying enough to make us pay. We had all for a long time been treated to free access to the app, and it was good enough to one of those added on costs that sneaked into our lives. But unlimited access to music made us at least download music illegally.
I think we are almost at that point where we are ready to start to pay for social media the same way we pay to use our smart phones to call, surf and text our friends. The maturity period is over. Lets see if Facebook are ready to show some balls.