I was going to post something about Facebook's F8 announcement but all the other bloggers stole all the good superlatives. Had I been faster, I would have labeled the event either "watershed" or "stupendous," and those are both words I use with caution.
What I think I get to write first, even though I'm not alone in thinking it, is that Facebook is going to move right past MySpace as the preeminent community. Within 12 months, I predict Facebook will have more active users, who will spend more time, doing more things than on it's older, larger rival.
Facebook already had momentum, but the F8 even that took place a fortnight ago made a bigger change. Facebook became an open community and MySpace remains closed. A little background: Facebook has opened up to work with other application developers and on itds opening day 65 companies, mostly in the social media space joined hands with Facebook.
My client Scrapblog was one of those 65 and the direct result was its traffic has more than tripled. It has not been a curiosity-seeker spike, but a steady, day-after-day rise. I imagine most of the other 64 companies could report similar results if they chose to disclose. You can bet that Facebook has 65 new allies who collectively have a great deal of influence over Internet users and there is nothing, NOTHING more powerful than the network that has been formed.
There are three winners here. First, there's Facebook must be enjoying a turboboost in new user traffic. Then, there are the 65 affiliates who are wondering how they can bless themselves with another deal like this but finally there's the big winner: the end user.
This is in stark comparison to MySpace which remains a closed community, and if you ask me, a fairly ugly one to visit and/or navigate. MySpace continues to use a Hotel California policy: You can never leave. You are all just prisoners there, so you can see the ads they place before you whether you like them or not.
As social media continues to emerge at a relentless pace, this communities become the largest focal point. Companies that disdained blogging and will continue to until Hell freezes oiver are embracing communities. The tools of wikis and voting of social networking and of information sharing are becoming commodities. You are starting to see them on sites that remain otherwise static.
But there are two kinds of communities--open and closed.
In the US during the last century, the steel, coal and automobile industries all created tangible communities. They were designed to entice workers to move. The factory and mining facilities were the most modern. Workers got decent homes. Schools, parks and churches were all part of these communities. Media photographers did entire pages of how nice these places were.
But the community was owned by the employer. The employer owned the houses, the general stores, the teachers and the ministers. They owned the police force and even the medical facilities. It took little time for workers to realize that this was not their community. It was the community of their employers, who controlled a great deal in the company's interest, which very often was different than the community's interest.
Online communities may be slightly less controlling than the factory towns of yore. But seem to me just a bit deceptive because they promise users an ownership of what happens that is in fact fictitious. I am becoming increasingly wary of places that have "my" in their names. It is often not mine, but theirs.