Facebook opened itself up to non-academic emails a few months ago. And then suddenly, all in the last week, and in a blizzard of add-friend requests, my friends have discovered facebook. Finally we can see what all the kids have been on about all this time? for a social networking site, facebook seems to do a lot of things right, it’s engrossing and intensely social (the “feed” updates you on every minutia of your friends activities, who’s friends with who, who’s updated what etc.) and without been overbearing with advertising and without horrifying “personalization” features (a la MySpace) to assault the eyeballs of it’s users.
Most first-generation social networking sites (think friendster, linkedin) suffered from the “Now what?” problem. You’ve created a profile, added a few friends … and then now what?
facebook is one of the first i’ve seen that may have solved this problem with it’s fairly effective fresh content generation of the feed, Wall postings, photo albums, events etc. (esp for student demographics that haven’t adopted flickr, upcoming.org etc.). Will these stand-alone narrow and deep socially-enabled services (flickr, upcoming etc) continue to thrive in face of emergent and actually effective general purpose tool like facebook (or the “next” facebook)? we shall see.
One thing’s clear, there’s value in consolidation. I’m sick of maintaining 2 dozen buddy lists of the same 50 people across 2 dozen different online services. This problem will have to solve itself eventually.
are you on facebook yet?
‘”What I need,” shouted Ford, by way of clarifying his previous remarks, “is a strong drink and a peer group.” ‘ -Douglas Adams