The most recent statistics speak about 800 million of Facebook active users.
Zuckemberg and his staff are implementing the platform improving functions, mobile, and interactions among users and the rest of the web (like, fan, follow etc).
Looking at my friends, my relatives and my collagues, I think that Facebook is not only a social network, but it is going to be the official web personal page. The functions and the importance that Facebook is going to have can’t be based only on the social interaction. The normal/low profile users, the majority, are using Internet starting from Facebook. For them is normal thinking about their personal page as the official personal medium like a blog or a web site. I think that most of them ignore WordPress, Flickr or Tumblr, and probably they might not have any reason to open a YouTube Channel or a Twitter account.
In a near future a lot of people could decide to manage their digital life just using Facebook like a platform provider for self promotion, business and social interactions.
Because on Facebook you can build a personalized page (the coming Timeline) with an exclusive url (vanity url). You can upload unlimited pictures and videos that you can embed and share inside and outisde FB. You can share contents, events, birthdays and check-ins. You can write short or long statuses (up to 63.000 characters). You can video chat and mail. You can tag people (do you remember the Blogrolls or the pingbacks?). You can follow the streams of other people even if they are not your friends (something like Feed Reader). You can create a page, a sort of web site, or a group, a sort of personal community. You can advertise and analize visits (FB Ads & Insights). You can install thousands of social application and games. You can buy and sell (check Blomming, a great Italian start up) and last but not least, you can sync and manage a lot of these contents on your mobile device.
Simplify WordPress, Flickr, YouTube, Delicious, MySpace, Foursquare and Twitter and you’ll obtain Facebook on dec’11. Ok, you’ll never have the functions of all these platforms, but do you think that the mass need them? Do you think that your mom will open a YouTube Channel for sharing her nephews videos or posting a comment to the new Italian Government?
No, forget it!
The strongest “function” of Facebook remains the social one. Everyone is on Facebook and all the companies are opening official pages that one day could replace the official web sites. Even Facebook for Developers is supporting the Facebook content management systemification. If you integrate FB on your web site you have a rapid subscribe process and easy share/comments functions, but remember that you are moving the attention of your users from your site to Facebook. The FB’s API are a great commodity, but they are a threat because one day your users could prefer remaining on the blue site avoiding your site.
In conclusion, I think that Facebook is going to be:
- the biggest DB of people, interests and connections for the active users and the real connection between them
- the biggest DB for marketeers for the sociographic information and the detailed maps of the user’s interests and connections
- the biggest DB of contents and contents link because the mass produce, import and link everything on FB
- the strongest conversation platform because we have more friends inside FB than outside it
- the strongest potential paid social network because anyone could live without FB
- the biggest publishing application platform because installing an app is easier and viralest on FB than anywhere else
- the most integrated social network on the web because to reach visitors, a web site should be easily sharable and accessible from/to FB
- the most powerful analytics platform because they collect visits, impressions and shares of real indentities building a precise social tree everywhere FB is integrated
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