Obligatory Facebook Post
July 18, 2007
I’ve probably been on Facebook for longer than you – I graduated in 2005 and my school was one of the earlier ones to get it (Facebook reached Notre Dame in spring 2004). I’ve mentioned before that it was ridiculously viral – it seemed to have reached near 100% saturation by fall 2004, at least among the undergrads and younger grad students. Like many of Facebook’s original class, I initially cringed when it was opened to everyone. It sounds a little snobby but I kind of liked the exclusivity – there were no bosses, no clients, no supervision. It was like the anti-Linked-In in that it was all about fun.
First of all, I’ve got to admit that I still think Facebook is a great platform, and the best of what’s currently available on the social networking because it integrates so many different applications, and they’re adding new ones every day. On a related note, I found this post from Read-Write-Web very eye-opening in regard to just how open Facebook was to new developers. Yes, anyone can create an app for Facebook, but they’ve got to “live in Facebook’s world” because it’s closed, proprietary system (check out the post for more details from people with much more technical know-how).
Of course, I’m waiting for the day when there is one massive social networking app that combines everything from secure collaborative tools like google docs, music channels, blogging, social bookmarking, IMing, and all of the other stuff that social media does now. Oh yeah, and it would allow you to import all your contacts from other networks and your email too. Plus you could have it be totally open (and indexed by search engines) or completely private, or anything in between. No, I’m not demanding at all.
But I digress. Obviously, I’m not entirely in love with Facebook – I don’t think it’s changed the world yet. Outside of Silicon Valley and the rest of the digerati, I’m not finding a whole lot of people using for purposes other than stalking their crushes and posting inside jokes on their friends’ wall. Actually, this Craigslist post describes the non-technology’s insider’s Facebook experience in an entertaining but often true manner(language is mildly NSFW, in case you care).
It’s got a lot of potential, but there’s also the possibility of it going the way of AOL and other walled gardens -remember that AOL was also “once the darling of the internet” as the first commentator on the Read Write Web post said. In fact, it was the internet for millions of users. Facebook is pretty awesome now and in my opinion, the best social site out there right now.
One more viewpoint – this post from Steve Rubel (of MicroPersuasion) is a good reminder of how quickly things can change, and to most of us, it’s not the really the technology that’s so compelling, it’s what people do with it.