Facebook hit a snag recently, since it began trading on the open market. Shares prices started out inexplicably high, the core users of Facebook were undermined, and the value of the company was vastly overestimated.

Cue mid-2012, as Zuckerberg and friends go into battlestations, looking for whatever business resources they have to restore economic stability. A sign of the economic times? Maybe. A misjudgement by the Facebook owners? Probably.

But the third point this story shows is how the internet is devolving.

Facebook and Twitter are champions of the large, inclusive, Western social media model. They are easy to use, easy to access, and could be seen as representations of success of the English language, and possibly American culture.

The problem with such a wide service is that it misses local angles. Simply put, the social network that Facebook has amassed of almost one-billion friends coincidentally removes each person from the ‘social’ aspect of the site. Friends become mere numbers, profiles become virtual dumping grounds of snippets of life, and people lose their identity – christ, even I have ‘friends’ I’ve never even met. Don't you?

Some consumers of the world’s fastest growing economies have certainly realised this overgrowth and are targeting their social media outlets to particular audiences.

Take Salamworld – or, as journalists have dubbed it, ‘Facebook for Muslims’.

Rather than concentrating on the Facebook party of unlimited invites, Salamworld aims to target a user base that shares a common identity and that, at some level, is more interested in defining cultural boundaries than blurring them.

Abdul-Vakhed Niyazov, chairman of Salamworld, plans to start what it hopes will be the world's next great social network.

He has a good base – religious values certainly bind people together and, with a projected online Muslim audience of 300 million across the globe, maybe Salamworld will be the next threat to Facebook. It is still a social get-together, yes, but the attendees all have one thing in common.

In terms of sheer numbers, Salamworld probably will not overthrow Facebook – quite frankly, depending on how religiously based Salamworld is, there probably aren’t enough users to even care about this ‘new identity’.

But it does show something rather interesting. While many idly think that Facebook is part of the world's furniture – an impenetrable social fortress which every just knows about – it shows that the battle for social media dominance is still alive.

To what extent, though, we shall have to find out once Salamworld launches in November. It will be a lengthy, tiresome fight with the Facebook giants if they are going to attract new users.

And where should they go to advertise?

Well they have a page on Facebook as a start.
 

by Ashley Scrace
 


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