I’ve seen many popular internet trends come and go. What trendy internet hot spots have actually stuck around? I’m not talking about product-based businesses like Amazon or Ebay, but the real trendy, “like, you totally have to join up so you can (whatever)” sites we’ve seen come and go. Remember Geocities? Ratemyface? Angelfire? MSN Space? (Yahoo?) (Myspace?)
When I see Facebook climb as high as they have I can’t help but think if its only going to make the fall that much more painful. Is Facebook is a serious Internet tool or a seriously fickle trend? (fer sure!)
I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, I’ll get that out of the way before I write anymore. It is a gossip site; the only different between Facebook and People.come are the people you’re reading about. I also disagree with their policies on not supporting open standards.
That being said, they are HUGE. How can you discount one of the most visited sites on the internet as simply being a trend?
Facebook is taking advantage of how people are currently using the internet, on a massive scale. People like using Facebook as a one-stop-shop for all those social needs. But what happens when the social internet turns into the many-stop-shop.
The internet in ’09 will be about identity. Being who you are, anywhere.
Facebook Connect is a service that lets you take your identity on a ride around the internet. So when you visit People.com you can see which of your friends are gossiping about which celeb (and in turn you can gossip about the gossipers). I think Facebook will actually make a lot of progress with their Facebook Connect functionality, initially. When comparing Facebook Connect to Google’s friend connect and OpenId it is a world ahead.
Data portability isn’t just a technical idea though, there are a lot of social implications here. It is removing the anonymity from the internet. It’s giving you your identity back. Do you really want a company (and I’d argue a company who really isn’t liked very much) to represent who you are? This is me we are talking about here, not salsaguy786 (although I can salsa dance with the best of them). I think it will be a real social disaster if we let a corporation control our online identity, and a huge backward step for the spirit of the internet.
Will others agee is the question that will answer the question on whether Facebook is a trend. If open standards save us Facebook will not be competing against other social networking sites, they will be competing against the entire internet. The internet will be a giant mono-social entity. (Imagine the gossip!)