Josh Bernoff wrote about how social applications will thrive during a recession. He noted advertising facts and figures from the 2001 recession to backup his claims, which all seem perfectly valid. But poor Josh seems to be missing the most important reason for social apps to keep on chugging. When massive layoffs hit companies needing to cut the fat for survival, ex-employees will be left with an abundance of time. And what can they fill that time with? Poking their friends virtually or starting a massive vampire/zombie war.
Now I don’t want to say social networks are a complete waste of time. They are kind of like a mullet: business in the front and party in the back. People will flock to social networks looking for job openings, utilizing connections, and otherwise use it for strictly business. But once the practicality runs dry they will turn to socializing and in turn pointless applications. This overload of free time is what will get social networks through the economic slump. As logical as it sounds for advertisers to keep pumping money into online advertising because it is more targeted providing a greater return on investment, social advertising is still an unproven experiment.
Targeting ads based on what people are searching for is safe. Sneaking a recommendation into a users news feed hoping they will share it with their friends, not so much.