The latest “shiny social object”: an open/controllable social network?

Poster inside a Facebook office

Well, I’ve been taking a lot of shots in the past few weeks for always covering the latest shiny social object. You know, first it was Twitter. Then Jaiku. Then Facebook. Pownce. On and on.

The critics say that either I’m late to the game, like with Facebook, or that I’m just too scattered and not looking for real value. Or that I don’t stay on one thing long enough to learn it well and add real value to my writings.

Fair enough. Although one thing I’d like to clear up. When I yammer on endlessly about Facebook that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped using any of the others. Twitter, for instance, is just a constant part of my life now.

Anyway, last night I was at the Facebook party aka “Lunch 2.0.” I met Mark Zuckerberg and his sister, Randi, and a ton of Facebook employees and executives. It is one of those parties that in about five years we’ll all be looking back on as a major inflection point in the valley. I stayed until the very end. In fact, even after the party ended a small group of us hang outside of Facebook’s offices and kept talking about what is going to happen in social networking.

One of the guys was John McCrea, vice president of marketing for Plaxo.

He told me that on Monday Plaxo i sgoing to turn on a new version. Ahh, a new “shiny social object.”

But then he explained why we should care: Plaxo is going to open up a new social network that’s both open as well as controllable. Translation: Plaxo is making a play for Facebook.

First, let’s go back to Facebook. Why does everyone say it’s a “walled garden?” Because you can’t get to data stored on Facebook unless you’re a Facebook member. Two days ago I did a video for Chris Pirillo on Facebook. Chris instantly got excited and wanted to share that with his blog’s readers. But he couldn’t. That video is locked inside Facebook’s walled garden. If you don’t have a key (a Facebook account) you can’t see it.

John told me that on Monday Plaxo will come out with a social network that gets rid of the walled garden.

Why did I say a couple of weeks ago that Facebook is a “data roach motel?” Because I can put all sorts of information about myself into Facebook (I could, for instance, tell you that I like “Daft Punk.” But, do I own that data? Can I get it out of Facebook? No).

John told me that on Monday Plaxo will come out with a social network that lets me own my own data and take it out of Plaxo and put it on other social networks.

Finally, I’ve been getting a few complaints about what I’ve been doing with Facebook. By turning Facebook into a professional networking tool I’m causing problems for people who saw it as a social tool to keep in touch with their college friends. See, Facebook for the first three years of its existence was mostly a tool for college kids to pass photos and other funny things around. Now, if you have photos of your frat party at college do you really want your new boss and coworkers to see those? Probably not.

But Facebook isn’t controllable. You can’t really have two groups of friends. One group that sees your drunken college frat photos and another group that sees you making presentations to your board of directors.

John told me that on Monday Plaxo will come out with a social network that lets me control which groups of friends (or family) that can see certain items.

OK, sounds like Plaxo is going to kill Facebook and bring down Facebook’s value by a few billion dollars. The bubble 2.0 will end. Zuckerberg will drag his tail away from the valley defeated. Etc etc etc. Right?

It’s not going to happen. Here’s why. It’s too late and the walled garden will keep people locked in.

Huh?

Sorry, Facebook already has momentum and a coolness about it that Plaxo doesn’t exude. I don’t really know how to explain the coolness without sounding really idiotic and goofy. That’s part of the 20-something vibe that Facebook has going for it right now. Oh, here’s a photo of me looking at the artwork in the Facebook offices. That might explain a little bit about it. There’s lots of other photos from the event last night here.

But it’s there and can’t be ignored. If John could explain to me how he’s going to get the world’s college students to look away from Facebook and toward something else maybe I’d go along with this “more open and controllable” Plaxo. My head is telling me that Plaxo is the way to go but my emotion tells me that Facebook is more fun.

The other thing is that BECAUSE of Facebook’s “closed” nature I’m not likely to leave it anytime soon. Why? Because if Facebook has 10% more content than the other networks do (which it will have because of the momentum that Facebook has today) that the more “open” networks will always seem lame in comparison.

But, on Monday I’ll try out the new Plaxo. I’m into “shiny social objects” and will report to you the pros and the cons. The problem, though, is that even if I get really excited about it my email is demonstrating that many of the world won’t be listening and won’t care.

What do you think?

After I get up this morning I’ll film a video explaining more of my thoughts and I’ll put that on my Kyte channel. For now Nokia’s CTO left me a little message there. I’ll do more stuff from the Always On conference today.

[kyte.tv 6118]

Comments

  1. people cant keep moving to the latest shiny new thing. As some point we need to stay put because of the network that has been created. the problem being that you cant transfer your info from one to the other. You cant contact someone on another social network site from a different one.

    Imagine if a Apple users couldn’t email a PC user. or a PC word file couldn’t be opened on a Apple. That is the current situation with social networking sites and is the major problem with them.

  2. people cant keep moving to the latest shiny new thing. As some point we need to stay put because of the network that has been created. the problem being that you cant transfer your info from one to the other. You cant contact someone on another social network site from a different one.

    Imagine if a Apple users couldn’t email a PC user. or a PC word file couldn’t be opened on a Apple. That is the current situation with social networking sites and is the major problem with them.

  3. Even though Facebook has “momentum,” somebody is probably going to figure out how to break the “walled garden” factor to share information. You can already get access to some of your “friends” info via RSS so I figure access to group info and app data cannot be far behind.

  4. Even though Facebook has “momentum,” somebody is probably going to figure out how to break the “walled garden” factor to share information. You can already get access to some of your “friends” info via RSS so I figure access to group info and app data cannot be far behind.

  5. Facebook, Plaxo – come on Linked In?!? I still use linked in for my business contacts (including those i met last night on Always On). However, why are they not going hell for leather to get social? Open up?! For me FB is a very cool tool, but quite fragmented if i just wanna keep my connections or contact details on there. I use Plaxo and like it – but i don’t want to know every connections phone number anyway – but for pure “connections” … whether weak or strong (e.g. just an email and a shared interest) i use linked in.

    If they don’t open up soon though, they may start to lose people. Hmmm, lockedout.com is taken…

  6. I guess in history too, the most powerful networks have ended up being been closed ones, like the Masons… I think what you are hinting at here is that Plaxo is basically the kind of software an accountant would like, whereas Facebook is – even at its most innocent – essentially flirting by other means. That makes it a lot of sexy, by definition. That’s partly why it has the momentum it has right now. However, should Facebook have any more major outages, I think lots of people will start making sure they have some back-up plan for when it goes down/gets hacked etc etc

  7. Or we could all be like John Dvorak and just stick our heads in the sand. At least Robert (who is older than me!) is still young. He is willing to try new shiny social networks out.

    Will Plaxo over take Facebook? Doubtful, but I’m sure they will get millions of users that like them. There are plenty of social networks out there, and most will survive because the human is a social creature.

    Or again, you can be like Elton John (and I like Elton’s music!) – and just be cranky – shut down the internet – just shut it all down!

    Why? So we all can move back to the stone age of dial up and computers as big as a house?

    Rex

  8. Facebook, Plaxo – come on Linked In?!? I still use linked in for my business contacts (including those i met last night on Always On). However, why are they not going hell for leather to get social? Open up?! For me FB is a very cool tool, but quite fragmented if i just wanna keep my connections or contact details on there. I use Plaxo and like it – but i don’t want to know every connections phone number anyway – but for pure “connections” … whether weak or strong (e.g. just an email and a shared interest) i use linked in.

    If they don’t open up soon though, they may start to lose people. Hmmm, lockedout.com is taken…

  9. I guess in history too, the most powerful networks have ended up being been closed ones, like the Masons… I think what you are hinting at here is that Plaxo is basically the kind of software an accountant would like, whereas Facebook is – even at its most innocent – essentially flirting by other means. That makes it a lot of sexy, by definition. That’s partly why it has the momentum it has right now. However, should Facebook have any more major outages, I think lots of people will start making sure they have some back-up plan for when it goes down/gets hacked etc etc

  10. Or we could all be like John Dvorak and just stick our heads in the sand. At least Robert (who is older than me!) is still young. He is willing to try new shiny social networks out.

    Will Plaxo over take Facebook? Doubtful, but I’m sure they will get millions of users that like them. There are plenty of social networks out there, and most will survive because the human is a social creature.

    Or again, you can be like Elton John (and I like Elton’s music!) – and just be cranky – shut down the internet – just shut it all down!

    Why? So we all can move back to the stone age of dial up and computers as big as a house?

    Rex

  11. CJ, Scoble isn’t “people”, he’s a techno-media-experimenter.

    The “imagine” scenario that you raise is a straw man. There’s obviously plenty of incompatibility between PC and Apple users right now – determined by the stakeholders, market forces, etc. It’ll be the same situation with the social networks.

  12. CJ, Scoble isn’t “people”, he’s a techno-media-experimenter.

    The “imagine” scenario that you raise is a straw man. There’s obviously plenty of incompatibility between PC and Apple users right now – determined by the stakeholders, market forces, etc. It’ll be the same situation with the social networks.

  13. Hi Robert,

    I guess unlike you and Loren & Jason, for a ZZZ-list blogger (anything lower than that?). I’ll just have to keep using FB and Plaxo until we see which one wins the 2.0 contest.

    IMHO, I’ve been using Plaxo only for contact syncing from my AddressBook.app and also as a backup and the in-case-I-am-not-on-my-laptop scenario to look up someone’s address.

    Like CJ said, FB has been around for a long time and it is really hard to keep moving friends around to different platform all over and every other week.

    Just this morning, I got another invite to Doostang, another LinkedIn. What the heck, I signed up anyway, but I highly doubt I’ll ever go back again…

    my $0.02

  14. Hi Robert,

    I guess unlike you and Loren & Jason, for a ZZZ-list blogger (anything lower than that?). I’ll just have to keep using FB and Plaxo until we see which one wins the 2.0 contest.

    IMHO, I’ve been using Plaxo only for contact syncing from my AddressBook.app and also as a backup and the in-case-I-am-not-on-my-laptop scenario to look up someone’s address.

    Like CJ said, FB has been around for a long time and it is really hard to keep moving friends around to different platform all over and every other week.

    Just this morning, I got another invite to Doostang, another LinkedIn. What the heck, I signed up anyway, but I highly doubt I’ll ever go back again…

    my $0.02

  15. Steven: last night at the party we talked about LinkedIn: consensus? Dead. Dead. Dead. (Keep in mind that whenever you hear a blogger say something is “dead” that he/she actually means “not relevant or interesting” or “not going to grow anymore.”).

    LinkedIn has to do something dramatic. Plaxo sounds like it’s doing it on Monday. They just took the “open/controllable” high ground away from LinkedIn.

    I personally HATE LinkedIn. I got off of it a year ago and am NOT going back.

    There was too much of an expectation that I’d introduce people to other people there (or send notes along). I hated that and Facebook doesn’t have that usage model. Facebook is also more fun because it’s more social.

  16. Plaxo is right on the money by allowing users to segregate their personal and professional contacts. This privacy issue is something that Facebook hasn’t tackled in an effective way. With more bosses jumping on Facebook, those college kids (who are now entering the professional world) are going to demand better privacy alternatives instead of having to wipe their profiles clean.

  17. Just, well, a great post. A lot of my recent sentiments too – not that I’d want to take over yours of course ;-)

    I think (hope) FB’s strength will lie in that ineffable coolness, not in the songs you can take in our out with you.

    I’ve stopped using FB as a fun social networking tool the other day. It’s now my network, period. I’ll post pictures on Flickr and tell people what I’m doing on Twitter. I’m not running to Plaxo because it allows just that… but I’ll check it out just the same.

    I love it when a plan comes together.

  18. Plaxo is right on the money by allowing users to segregate their personal and professional contacts. This privacy issue is something that Facebook hasn’t tackled in an effective way. With more bosses jumping on Facebook, those college kids (who are now entering the professional world) are going to demand better privacy alternatives instead of having to wipe their profiles clean.

  19. Just, well, a great post. A lot of my recent sentiments too – not that I’d want to take over yours of course ;-)

    I think (hope) FB’s strength will lie in that ineffable coolness, not in the songs you can take in our out with you.

    I’ve stopped using FB as a fun social networking tool the other day. It’s now my network, period. I’ll post pictures on Flickr and tell people what I’m doing on Twitter. I’m not running to Plaxo because it allows just that… but I’ll check it out just the same.

    I love it when a plan comes together.

  20. Steven: last night at the party we talked about LinkedIn: consensus? Dead. Dead. Dead. (Keep in mind that whenever you hear a blogger say something is “dead” that he/she actually means “not relevant or interesting” or “not going to grow anymore.”).

    LinkedIn has to do something dramatic. Plaxo sounds like it’s doing it on Monday. They just took the “open/controllable” high ground away from LinkedIn.

    I personally HATE LinkedIn. I got off of it a year ago and am NOT going back.

    There was too much of an expectation that I’d introduce people to other people there (or send notes along). I hated that and Facebook doesn’t have that usage model. Facebook is also more fun because it’s more social.

  21. Hey, you know you actually can control what your boss sees. On privacy settings, you can limit that person’s access to your profile. While a category wide tagging system would be easier and quicker, you can have “tiers” of friendship on Facebook right now.

  22. Hey, you know you actually can control what your boss sees. On privacy settings, you can limit that person’s access to your profile. While a category wide tagging system would be easier and quicker, you can have “tiers” of friendship on Facebook right now.

  23. I like that Facebook is a “walled garden” because there need to be truly closed doors on the internet that aren’t indexed by Google or other engines. This is what makes Facebook a bonafide platform for “open” corporate intranets because employees can meet each other, discuss, form groups, and etc while the company can control access of data to other parts of the community. In addition, the mobile aspect of Facebook allows employees to keep up to date with whats going on while on the road.

    @4 – I agree with you and am under the impression that certain applications on Facebook have started to do that. I am a proponent of keeping my data as secure as needed, with varying “tiers” requiring different levels of security. Recently I discovered that internet forms were being populated with my contact information, and was able to trace it back to a Facebook application. Disabling this application solved the issue.

  24. I like that Facebook is a “walled garden” because there need to be truly closed doors on the internet that aren’t indexed by Google or other engines. This is what makes Facebook a bonafide platform for “open” corporate intranets because employees can meet each other, discuss, form groups, and etc while the company can control access of data to other parts of the community. In addition, the mobile aspect of Facebook allows employees to keep up to date with whats going on while on the road.

    @4 – I agree with you and am under the impression that certain applications on Facebook have started to do that. I am a proponent of keeping my data as secure as needed, with varying “tiers” requiring different levels of security. Recently I discovered that internet forms were being populated with my contact information, and was able to trace it back to a Facebook application. Disabling this application solved the issue.

  25. Yes – it was easy to get people on board and then …… nothing. They went for cash before building a great platform. That is something that wins *bigtime* on FB. How about they all merge!? linkedfaceplax.com

    Maybe linkedin is relaunching as linkedout (domain under construction…) – an open version. They should at least pull in your blog feeds from the web and show them next to your profile…

  26. Yes – it was easy to get people on board and then …… nothing. They went for cash before building a great platform. That is something that wins *bigtime* on FB. How about they all merge!? linkedfaceplax.com

    Maybe linkedin is relaunching as linkedout (domain under construction…) – an open version. They should at least pull in your blog feeds from the web and show them next to your profile…

  27. Do you just love monopolies? I’d never store my information where I can’t get it back… plus I never saw a use for Facebook anyway.

  28. Do you just love monopolies? I’d never store my information where I can’t get it back… plus I never saw a use for Facebook anyway.

  29. Have a little too much Kool Aid last night?

    This is an example of you throwing it out there without much thought behind it. Yep, facebook is cool; however, collaborative products have been around for ages – so what’s the great leap? Think of Groove/Facebook/Notes/SharePoint/BlogSpot combos, MSN/AOL/all the other instant crap/blogs. Surely this is not a great leap. Some jaundiced eyes might help from time to time. Gee, who would have thunk that all of these network products (Plaxo, LinkedIn) etc would implement collaboration (asynch/synch) one day?

    >>Do more…think deeper<<

  30. Have a little too much Kool Aid last night?

    This is an example of you throwing it out there without much thought behind it. Yep, facebook is cool; however, collaborative products have been around for ages – so what’s the great leap? Think of Groove/Facebook/Notes/SharePoint/BlogSpot combos, MSN/AOL/all the other instant crap/blogs. Surely this is not a great leap. Some jaundiced eyes might help from time to time. Gee, who would have thunk that all of these network products (Plaxo, LinkedIn) etc would implement collaboration (asynch/synch) one day?

    >>Do more…think deeper<<

  31. I’m very interested to see what Plaxo comes up with on Monday. I got that feeling when Pownce was launched…that someone was finally building something i could really open up on, without any guard for who sees what etc…

    Unfortunately, although in that first week I managed to get a decent network of close friends going, activity at Pownce has died on its arse….for me (and for now) at least…

    At nakedyak.com I’ve been talking recently about the concept of Open Messaging. A lot of my thinking is on the same line as yours Robert, but there are some opposing points too. But it’s evolving, as is everything…and I can’t wait to see what forms social networks take in the oh so near future!

    ~biff~

    P.S. Thanks for putting me on to CoComment! Very handy indeed…

  32. I’m very interested to see what Plaxo comes up with on Monday. I got that feeling when Pownce was launched…that someone was finally building something i could really open up on, without any guard for who sees what etc…

    Unfortunately, although in that first week I managed to get a decent network of close friends going, activity at Pownce has died on its arse….for me (and for now) at least…

    At nakedyak.com I’ve been talking recently about the concept of Open Messaging. A lot of my thinking is on the same line as yours Robert, but there are some opposing points too. But it’s evolving, as is everything…and I can’t wait to see what forms social networks take in the oh so near future!

    ~biff~

    P.S. Thanks for putting me on to CoComment! Very handy indeed…

  33. Agree with your post, but what I really want/need is an open application that does a combination of Facebook/Blog/Flickr/Twitter or pownce with the flexibility to allow different groups to view different levels of information, or am i asking too much? That way I have one contact list to manage rather than several and save no end of time.

    Maybe I’m asking too much!

  34. Agree with your post, but what I really want/need is an open application that does a combination of Facebook/Blog/Flickr/Twitter or pownce with the flexibility to allow different groups to view different levels of information, or am i asking too much? That way I have one contact list to manage rather than several and save no end of time.

    Maybe I’m asking too much!

  35. Jack: I’m not on Facebook to collaborate. I think you’re missing what’s special about it if you’re looking for collaborative tools. But, collaboration will be a part of it, don’t get me wrong. There’s a ton of collaborative apps coming.

    And to compare Facebook to Groove? Please.

  36. Jack: I’m not on Facebook to collaborate. I think you’re missing what’s special about it if you’re looking for collaborative tools. But, collaboration will be a part of it, don’t get me wrong. There’s a ton of collaborative apps coming.

    And to compare Facebook to Groove? Please.

  37. Robert, Great post! When you were at this Facebook event, did you talk to the FB developers / mgmt about the whole “walled garden” issue? Do they see the point we are making? (If so, did they show any signs of doing anything to address the issue?) Or do they still view the “privacy” of the FB walls as an advantage? Or don’t they even seem to care? Just curious, Dan

  38. Robert, Great post! When you were at this Facebook event, did you talk to the FB developers / mgmt about the whole “walled garden” issue? Do they see the point we are making? (If so, did they show any signs of doing anything to address the issue?) Or do they still view the “privacy” of the FB walls as an advantage? Or don’t they even seem to care? Just curious, Dan

  39. “Next Shiny Object Syndrome” is what drives the ‘net. Let’s face it, DNS and FTP were killer shiny objects in their day, and we rely on them to this day. Okay Okay so was Gopher, albeit a slightly tarnished one, and it’s not holding our world together now – but in a way you can say that Gopher was the grandfather of the Web so yeah – NSOS drives almost all innovation in technology.

    kthxbye!
    (recognise the Shiny Object Formerly Known as LOLcats?)

  40. “Next Shiny Object Syndrome” is what drives the ‘net. Let’s face it, DNS and FTP were killer shiny objects in their day, and we rely on them to this day. Okay Okay so was Gopher, albeit a slightly tarnished one, and it’s not holding our world together now – but in a way you can say that Gopher was the grandfather of the Web so yeah – NSOS drives almost all innovation in technology.

    kthxbye!
    (recognise the Shiny Object Formerly Known as LOLcats?)

  41. Dan (25): yes, I did and yes, they do. I’m sure they’ll change Facebook in response to competitive pressures too.

    They do see some of the closed nature of it as an advantage. Why? Anti-spam. They say that a lot of the walls they’ve put up is to defeat spammers. That’s one reason I love Facebook (I say that as I look at 70,000 spams that have been caught by akismet).

  42. Dan (25): yes, I did and yes, they do. I’m sure they’ll change Facebook in response to competitive pressures too.

    They do see some of the closed nature of it as an advantage. Why? Anti-spam. They say that a lot of the walls they’ve put up is to defeat spammers. That’s one reason I love Facebook (I say that as I look at 70,000 spams that have been caught by akismet).

  43. My guess is that Facebook will adopt the site to support social & business networking, which would separate the two items from one another.

    Despite the crtiques of a walled garden, I actually prefer it to something more open. Why: because I get less spam.

    LinkedIn: I have to disagree with you here. While some bloggers might not find as much value in it, the people that use it to accomplish something (recruiters & employers) do find value in the product (disclaimer: I know a lot of folks over there). Just because some bloggers might not like it these days, it doesn’t mean that other people won’t find value in the product (bloggers, after all, aren’t the only folks in the universe).

    As LinkedIn is a different niche, I think it would be silly for folks to compare it to the other social networks. But I also think LinkedIn has to pay very close attention to the very real threat that Facebook does pose…

  44. My guess is that Facebook will adopt the site to support social & business networking, which would separate the two items from one another.

    Despite the crtiques of a walled garden, I actually prefer it to something more open. Why: because I get less spam.

    LinkedIn: I have to disagree with you here. While some bloggers might not find as much value in it, the people that use it to accomplish something (recruiters & employers) do find value in the product (disclaimer: I know a lot of folks over there). Just because some bloggers might not like it these days, it doesn’t mean that other people won’t find value in the product (bloggers, after all, aren’t the only folks in the universe).

    As LinkedIn is a different niche, I think it would be silly for folks to compare it to the other social networks. But I also think LinkedIn has to pay very close attention to the very real threat that Facebook does pose…

  45. Damon: yeah, I know lots of people find value in LinkedIn for jobs and such, but that’s EXACTLY why I don’t like it.

    Facebook is already being used for that and is so much more.

  46. Damon: yeah, I know lots of people find value in LinkedIn for jobs and such, but that’s EXACTLY why I don’t like it.

    Facebook is already being used for that and is so much more.

  47. Scoble,
    I follow your blog religiously and I enjoy the content and commentary…..however…do you think you could possibly give facebook it’s own section perhaps? It’s a little much these days and I want to continue to read your rss feed, but it’s facebook overload recently. Thanks.
    DG

  48. Scoble,
    I follow your blog religiously and I enjoy the content and commentary…..however…do you think you could possibly give facebook it’s own section perhaps? It’s a little much these days and I want to continue to read your rss feed, but it’s facebook overload recently. Thanks.
    DG

  49. Robert…I for one thing really like the fact that you cover the latest shiny social objects.

    When I read your work, I know I’m getting the cutting edge.

    As for Plaxo, I think that unless Facebook screws up big somehow, it’s going to be tough luring away the millions of entrenched users. Kind of similar to Pownce and Jaiku trying to grab entrenched Twitter users.

  50. Robert…I for one thing really like the fact that you cover the latest shiny social objects.

    When I read your work, I know I’m getting the cutting edge.

    As for Plaxo, I think that unless Facebook screws up big somehow, it’s going to be tough luring away the millions of entrenched users. Kind of similar to Pownce and Jaiku trying to grab entrenched Twitter users.

  51. Facebook Relationships

    I was in the car with my girlfriend last night, and she began telling a story about how one of her good friends decided to take a major step in the relationship she’s in. What was that major step?

    She decided to change her relationship status on F…

  52. I was in the car with my girlfriend last night, and she began telling a story about how one of her good friends decided to take a major step in the relationship she’s in. What was that major step?

    She decided to change her relationship status on Facebook to “in a relationship” with her significant other.

    I laughed at first, but then I began thinking about it. Apparently, her friend was slightly embarrassed to have been dating this guy in the first place. She probably didn’t want everyone to know she was seeing this guy. So by changing her relationship status on Facebook, she’s guaranteeing that a lot of her friends are going to see it in theirs Newsfeeds. Its basically the same step as calling 200-400 (or however many friends you have on Facebook) and saying “Hey, guess what? I’m dating this person.” Doesn’t matter if they’re your best friend, or if you’ve only talked to them a few times at a party. Chances are, they’re going to see it.

  53. I was in the car with my girlfriend last night, and she began telling a story about how one of her good friends decided to take a major step in the relationship she’s in. What was that major step?

    She decided to change her relationship status on Facebook to “in a relationship” with her significant other.

    I laughed at first, but then I began thinking about it. Apparently, her friend was slightly embarrassed to have been dating this guy in the first place. She probably didn’t want everyone to know she was seeing this guy. So by changing her relationship status on Facebook, she’s guaranteeing that a lot of her friends are going to see it in theirs Newsfeeds. Its basically the same step as calling 200-400 (or however many friends you have on Facebook) and saying “Hey, guess what? I’m dating this person.” Doesn’t matter if they’re your best friend, or if you’ve only talked to them a few times at a party. Chances are, they’re going to see it.

  54. Hey Scoble,

    The reality is that Facebook is arguably the most open Web site on the Web today and it’s probably best to say it’s a walled garden with a really big door :)

    You can, in fact, pull most (but not all) data from Facebook including friends, photos, groups, events, and more. In fact, just last Friday, we published a video of Soma, the Developer Division Vice President and his daughter doing exactly that using Popfly.

    Here’s my full post on the subject with examples that pull data from the “alleged” walled garden.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/danielfe/archive/2007/08/02/not-all-facebook-data-is-in-a-walled-garden.aspx

    Cheers,
    -Dan

  55. Hey Scoble,

    The reality is that Facebook is arguably the most open Web site on the Web today and it’s probably best to say it’s a walled garden with a really big door :)

    You can, in fact, pull most (but not all) data from Facebook including friends, photos, groups, events, and more. In fact, just last Friday, we published a video of Soma, the Developer Division Vice President and his daughter doing exactly that using Popfly.

    Here’s my full post on the subject with examples that pull data from the “alleged” walled garden.

    http://blogs.msdn.com/danielfe/archive/2007/08/02/not-all-facebook-data-is-in-a-walled-garden.aspx

    Cheers,
    -Dan

  56. You’re right that Facebook has a lot of momentum, but they also have glaring weaknesses. They are still slanted towards college kids, and as they get bigger, it’s going to get harder and harder to forgive this.

    It’s amusing that Plaxo is going after them. The people who really have the right bullets to slay Facebook is Ning. With Ning, you can easily separate your co-workers from your drinking buddies, etc. You can also control your data. They give you access to all their data because they give you access to the very source code of their site. Ning reminds me of Google back when Google was the nerdy/geeky search engine to use.

  57. You’re right that Facebook has a lot of momentum, but they also have glaring weaknesses. They are still slanted towards college kids, and as they get bigger, it’s going to get harder and harder to forgive this.

    It’s amusing that Plaxo is going after them. The people who really have the right bullets to slay Facebook is Ning. With Ning, you can easily separate your co-workers from your drinking buddies, etc. You can also control your data. They give you access to all their data because they give you access to the very source code of their site. Ning reminds me of Google back when Google was the nerdy/geeky search engine to use.

  58. I am by no means a “tech-guru”, my blog is more diary than anything else so I will not claim to have some outstanding viewpoint on the newest shiny object. I do however utilize the web for various activities including, but certainly not limited to, having accounts on both Facebook -and- MySpace. The fact that Plaxo is releasing a new version sends shivers down my spine. YES… I know that I am beating a dead horse here so I will refrain to spare you all from re-reading everything you’ve seen on a million other comments. Has the leopard changed it spots? perhaps… perhaps not. I do know that certain cells of my personal and professional “networks” have been burned in the past and would be hard pressed to place their trust once again in Plaxo.

    So I guess what I’m wondering is…What does this mean for Plaxo’s future in this particular social market? Will they revert back to their old habits to boost their numbers again?

  59. I am by no means a “tech-guru”, my blog is more diary than anything else so I will not claim to have some outstanding viewpoint on the newest shiny object. I do however utilize the web for various activities including, but certainly not limited to, having accounts on both Facebook -and- MySpace. The fact that Plaxo is releasing a new version sends shivers down my spine. YES… I know that I am beating a dead horse here so I will refrain to spare you all from re-reading everything you’ve seen on a million other comments. Has the leopard changed it spots? perhaps… perhaps not. I do know that certain cells of my personal and professional “networks” have been burned in the past and would be hard pressed to place their trust once again in Plaxo.

    So I guess what I’m wondering is…What does this mean for Plaxo’s future in this particular social market? Will they revert back to their old habits to boost their numbers again?

  60. These new social networks are springing up all the time, but only a few can stand out. No one is going to visit multiple (maybe two or three) sites to social network. So the new networks need to pull people away from old services if they want to gather a user base. They need to include features to integrate with other social networks, and sports new features that people will want. Much easier said then done. If you don’t gain a user base quickly, you’ll be just another dead social network. It is getting to be a pretty large graveyard.

    -Vainentree
    http://thenerdcan.wordpress.com/

  61. These new social networks are springing up all the time, but only a few can stand out. No one is going to visit multiple (maybe two or three) sites to social network. So the new networks need to pull people away from old services if they want to gather a user base. They need to include features to integrate with other social networks, and sports new features that people will want. Much easier said then done. If you don’t gain a user base quickly, you’ll be just another dead social network. It is getting to be a pretty large graveyard.

    -Vainentree
    http://thenerdcan.wordpress.com/

  62. Well, you’ve got it mostly right with Facebook and maybe one of your other 40-something comments made this point, but you can use Facebook two ways. There’s a setting that limits easily your work contacts/friends from your friend/friends (who you don’t mind seeing some debauchery) — Simply click “limited profile” when adding/authorizing the friend, and choose what that limited profile looks like for everyone you have that setting for… Eliminating the concerns of work vs. friend relationships. Besides, the colleagues won’t know what they’re missing if you have all of them choked down.

    Just my two cents worth… From someone who uses that feature frequently!

  63. Well, you’ve got it mostly right with Facebook and maybe one of your other 40-something comments made this point, but you can use Facebook two ways. There’s a setting that limits easily your work contacts/friends from your friend/friends (who you don’t mind seeing some debauchery) — Simply click “limited profile” when adding/authorizing the friend, and choose what that limited profile looks like for everyone you have that setting for… Eliminating the concerns of work vs. friend relationships. Besides, the colleagues won’t know what they’re missing if you have all of them choked down.

    Just my two cents worth… From someone who uses that feature frequently!

  64. @46 good point. The original users of Facebook…the college crowd wanted a place that wwas “theirs” and wasn’t Myspace. Since Facebook opened up, those original users now dpn’t like the fact that geezers, dweebs, and punks that used to hang out Myspace are now peeing in the Facebook pool. So they would welcome another place of their own. So, It’s unlikely there will be a “Google” equivalent for social networks. If Facebook is not careful they will prove right what Yogi Berra once said about a once popular restaurant: “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded”

  65. @46 good point. The original users of Facebook…the college crowd wanted a place that wwas “theirs” and wasn’t Myspace. Since Facebook opened up, those original users now dpn’t like the fact that geezers, dweebs, and punks that used to hang out Myspace are now peeing in the Facebook pool. So they would welcome another place of their own. So, It’s unlikely there will be a “Google” equivalent for social networks. If Facebook is not careful they will prove right what Yogi Berra once said about a once popular restaurant: “No one goes there anymore. It’s too crowded”

  66. At one time AOL and Compuserve had momentum…

    I think this is a smart comment. And what killed them both? The web.

    The thing that succeeds Facebook, MySpace et al isn’t going to be another site that some company throws up. It’s going to be something far deeper than that; a standard for sharing data and connections between people, across all the networks and tools out there on the Internet.

    The groundwork is already being laid, and it’s only a matter of time before we all move on.

  67. At one time AOL and Compuserve had momentum…

    I think this is a smart comment. And what killed them both? The web.

    The thing that succeeds Facebook, MySpace et al isn’t going to be another site that some company throws up. It’s going to be something far deeper than that; a standard for sharing data and connections between people, across all the networks and tools out there on the Internet.

    The groundwork is already being laid, and it’s only a matter of time before we all move on.

  68. [...] pretty sure the details are embargoed till then, but as Scoble has already blogged today, Plaxo plans to release a social network aggregator on Monday. The key [...]

  69. Robert,

    How come you don’t mention mega social network sites like MyLifeBrand.com (http://www.mylifebrand.com) This site allows users to belong to numerous sites and access all of their memberships under one domain. I personally think that this is the wave of the future. As long as there is money behind Plaxo and other social network sites they are going to stay around. They’ll fulfill different niche functions. But then one website, MyLifeBrand will allow users to bring these different niches together as one.

  70. Robert,

    How come you don’t mention mega social network sites like MyLifeBrand.com (http://www.mylifebrand.com) This site allows users to belong to numerous sites and access all of their memberships under one domain. I personally think that this is the wave of the future. As long as there is money behind Plaxo and other social network sites they are going to stay around. They’ll fulfill different niche functions. But then one website, MyLifeBrand will allow users to bring these different niches together as one.

  71. [...] Scoble talked to the vice president of marketing, John McCrea, about Plaxo’s upcoming social network. This is a good move for Plaxo in an obvious direction. I’m glad to hear they found a way to make the leap. [...]

  72. Damon: yeah, I know lots of people find value in LinkedIn for jobs and such, but that’s EXACTLY why I don’t like it.

    Facebook is already being used for that and is so much more.

    Yes, but I think the primary advantage for LI is that they do have a jobs/recruiting focus. Until Facebook makes more of their service for business folks – even if some are already using it – it won’t have the same rate of adoption.

    As stated, I do think Facebook is a very legitimate threat to LinkedIn. As it stands right now, I would say that it currently can’t beat the LinkedIn product (my professional profile is much more robust on LinkedIn). I’ve had a lot of potential job offers because of LinkedIn (being a Community Manager/Evangelist is still somewhat of a niche role, so folks find it easy to find folks like me there).

    What Facebook could do:
    Allow you to segregate business and personal contacts. Now that would be something that could be highly disruptive (99% of my Facebook friends are actually people I know through work!).

  73. Damon: yeah, I know lots of people find value in LinkedIn for jobs and such, but that’s EXACTLY why I don’t like it.

    Facebook is already being used for that and is so much more.

    Yes, but I think the primary advantage for LI is that they do have a jobs/recruiting focus. Until Facebook makes more of their service for business folks – even if some are already using it – it won’t have the same rate of adoption.

    As stated, I do think Facebook is a very legitimate threat to LinkedIn. As it stands right now, I would say that it currently can’t beat the LinkedIn product (my professional profile is much more robust on LinkedIn). I’ve had a lot of potential job offers because of LinkedIn (being a Community Manager/Evangelist is still somewhat of a niche role, so folks find it easy to find folks like me there).

    What Facebook could do:
    Allow you to segregate business and personal contacts. Now that would be something that could be highly disruptive (99% of my Facebook friends are actually people I know through work!).

  74. NOOO WAY: Daft Punk?? :D
    At first I had heard the 2005 album and didn’t really enjoy it much… Then I borrowed the older 2001 one with catchy tunes I already knew like “One more time”. I’m so hooked on it now!! :D

    On the subject: I guess facebook tends to be a traditional social network model (I don’t think “deprecated” would fit in..) whereas Twitter and other are a new bread, where information is public as you intend it to be.
    There are, of course, pros and cons on both models (privacy later on in life, comes to me when I think of the latest model).

    To be honest, you had me try Facebook AND TWITTER!!! :D Although I do enjoy Facebook, it just feels like more of the same (eg. orkut, hi5, netlog, etc…) which I have or had and got tired of it! The one advantage (huge one!) about Facebook is it’s interaction with other services… that can be the more “open” ones. That way, you kind of “aggregate” your social networking on one page, for “insiders”. (I just tried MyBlogLog and Jaiku yesterday… seem interesting!)

    Oh well… creativity is lacking at times in some of those startups: they want to make a better something, instead of creating the best thing! (catchy phrase LOL – you can use it :p)

    Keep it up Scoble! :)

  75. NOOO WAY: Daft Punk?? :D
    At first I had heard the 2005 album and didn’t really enjoy it much… Then I borrowed the older 2001 one with catchy tunes I already knew like “One more time”. I’m so hooked on it now!! :D

    On the subject: I guess facebook tends to be a traditional social network model (I don’t think “deprecated” would fit in..) whereas Twitter and other are a new bread, where information is public as you intend it to be.
    There are, of course, pros and cons on both models (privacy later on in life, comes to me when I think of the latest model).

    To be honest, you had me try Facebook AND TWITTER!!! :D Although I do enjoy Facebook, it just feels like more of the same (eg. orkut, hi5, netlog, etc…) which I have or had and got tired of it! The one advantage (huge one!) about Facebook is it’s interaction with other services… that can be the more “open” ones. That way, you kind of “aggregate” your social networking on one page, for “insiders”. (I just tried MyBlogLog and Jaiku yesterday… seem interesting!)

    Oh well… creativity is lacking at times in some of those startups: they want to make a better something, instead of creating the best thing! (catchy phrase LOL – you can use it :p)

    Keep it up Scoble! :)

  76. I disagree with the assertion that Facebook isn’t controllable; in fact, I do maintain “two groups of friends,” as well as a ‘limited profile’ in order to, well, limit who sees what of my Facebook persona. The privacy settings are flexible enough such that I ensure that the potentially embarrassing photos, for example, don’t make it to family members. In fact, it was Facebook’s dedication to privacy controls that convinced me to join a social network for the first time.

  77. I disagree with the assertion that Facebook isn’t controllable; in fact, I do maintain “two groups of friends,” as well as a ‘limited profile’ in order to, well, limit who sees what of my Facebook persona. The privacy settings are flexible enough such that I ensure that the potentially embarrassing photos, for example, don’t make it to family members. In fact, it was Facebook’s dedication to privacy controls that convinced me to join a social network for the first time.

  78. [...] Robert Scoble writes about some drawbacks of social networking site Facebook, and why people prefer inferior products. He talks about bookmarking/calendaring/ address book app Plaxo, which is already pretty cool. They’re adding social networking features, and Scoble explains how it’s different: First, let’s go back to Facebook. Why does everyone say it’s a “walled garden?” Because you can’t get to data stored on Facebook unless you’re a Facebook member. Two days ago I did a video for Chris Pirillo on Facebook. Chris instantly got excited and wanted to share that with his blog’s readers. But he couldn’t. That video is locked inside Facebook’s walled garden. If you don’t have a key (a Facebook account) you can’t see it. [...]