Five months ago, a Google researcher by the name of Paul Adams exposed some chinks in Facebook's social networking armor. This week, he is leaving the search giant to join the network he critiqued. He is one of a growing number of Google's rank and file that have formed an exodus from the social media dessert of Google to the greener pastures of Facebook.
Paul AdamsThe fallacy of most social networks - and Facebook is the most guilty because they have the largest user base - is that a single umbrella group of "friends" in an online community doesn't mirror real-life and leads to communication deficiencies. What started out being a network of one's closest friends and family members eventually evolved into a numbers game of social ties that are becoming weaker and weaker. This is just one of the points Adams underscores in his 216-page slideshow titled, "The Real Life Social Network."
"People have multiple facets of identity. There is not one profile that fits for all the people in their life. People appear differently to different audiences. They act one way with their family, they act another way in work, and they act another way with their best friends," said Adams, in his presentation.
Why Mark Zuckerberg needed an outsider to spell out the obvious is perhaps the source of Facebook's deficient worldview. Zuckerberg & Company is an insular group who like other corporations became a culture of "groupthink." And the party line for Facebook employees is the belief in an "open" and "transparent" Web, where the definitions of "privacy" are changing daily to accommodate the network's ability to tap into individual preferences, likes and dislikes to create a data-mine of advertising resources.
Zuckerberg, however, also appears to be open to critique and by recruiting Adams, he not only gains valuable inside Intel from his major competitor, he can also learn how to build a more widely acceptable social networking mousetrap. Where Google lacks the "social networking gene," Facebook has the ability to create a more powerful search engine than Google - essentially stealing the preeminent spot as leader of the Web for the next decade.
In the graphic novel, "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks" this point is underscored by Z-Man (aka Zuckerberg) in capsulizing his advantage over Google (aka Gobble).
Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
Adams' slideshow presentation apparently impressed Zuckerberg so much, it's been reported that this was one of the core reasons for him going into his recent lockdown mode with his team to create Facebook Groups. This feature allows users to segment friends into specific compartmentalized groupings - such as work associates, project groups, special interest, family, etc.
Google on the other hand is plagued by infighting which has prompted more and more people to jump ship and hop aboard Facebook's Open Graph Enterprise. While Orkut, Buzz, Google Me and the most recent talk of Sergey Brin's leadership of Google +1 all seemed to be mired in quicksand, with another colleague leaving their ranks, there is increasing signs of weakness. This does not bode well for the giant that controlled the Internet for the last decade - and is a major boost for the would-be heir apparent to usurp its authority!
Paul Adams' Resignation Tweet