Facebook relaunched the idea of the ‘poke’ as social action just before Christmas, with an app called Facebook Poke that lets people send messages, photos or videos to Facebook friends which self-destruct after one, three, five or 10 seconds. It was a clear attempt to steal the thunder of an existing app called Snapchat, whose similar features have made it a huge hit with youngsters in recent months. Yet by the end of 2012, commentators were noting that Snapchat was still being downloaded lots more than Facebook Poke, which then segued into a wider debate about whether Facebook is still a.) innovative and b.) likely to remain popular with teenagers. “How is that Facebook, which has some of the smartest folks in the room, can’t really invent any new single online behavior that would keep people addicted to Facebook?” wondered GigaOm. Meanwhile, YouTube’s Hunter Walk chipped in with a thought-provoking blog post: ‘Trying to be the one true social graph is like trying to hold water in your fist’.

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