Facebook Hotel?

I had lunch with Dave Morin of Facebook today (he’s one of the key guys on the application platform) and that led to some brainstorming about what would happen if Facebook were to open up a hotel or casino. Watch my Kyte video for that (embedded on this post).

But, in other news, someone just attacked me for my use of Facebook. Says I treat it as a “one way” medium to push out content to my unsuspecting friends.

Such a claim isn’t worth a link or acknowledgement because it demonstrates a total misunderstanding of how Facebook works.

What do I mean? It’s impossible to treat Facebook as a one-way medium. Here’s why: when I sign into Facebook I don’t see the stuff I’ve published on my home page. No, instead I see a bunch of stuff my friends have published.

Here, try it yourself. Sign into Facebook and visit the “home page” which is where your News Feed is.

Do you see anything you published yourself? I don’t.

I see a link from Teresa Klein. I see Ryan Westrom writing on my wall. I see Eric Auchard backsliding onb his vacation. I see Scott Westerman posting Jeremiah Owyang’s White Paper. I see Jeremy Wagstaff and Walt Mossberg joining a group for the Wall Street Journal Online. Tom Conrad is attending Coda. Chris Messina posted a news story. Dave Davison joined the group Nobody for President. Dave Morin wrote on my wall. Ken Kaplan added “people” to his interests. Jeff Grosse commented on Kevin Dugan’s video. Andrew Bourland sent me a gift. And on and on and on.

I read this feed a lot more than I think about writing on my blog lately.

What’s even more interesting is how Facebook picks stuff from my 4,775 friends to put on my wall.

Dave told me there’s a set of algorithms that keep track of which friends of yours are closer friends to you than others. For instance, if you write on someone’s wall, you’ll get more of their items. I’ll do some other tests to reverse engineer the News Feed’s algorithm a bit.

Anyway, back to the idea of a Facebook Hotel.

Think about how a business would change if it knew every one of its customers had a Facebook account.

I was thinking of a hotel/casino where when I walked in the iPod in the room was playing the music that I had set as my favorite on my Facebook profile. The digital screens in my room had all my photos and some random photos from my friends. My favorite movies and TV shows were on the video device. The bar knew my favorite drink and how I liked it made.

That got me thinking about how I’d change my business after I knew everything about my customers.

Thought of the day.

Oh, one thing? In my Facebook Hotel anyone who just attacks me would be deleted. So, if that’s your idea of fun, hang out somewhere else cause I’m starting to delete comments from people who don’t add any value here. Get your own blog if all you want to do is attack me.

114 thoughts on “Facebook Hotel?

  1. Robert,

    Thanks for the reply. I do have a few close friends not like you who has friends in the 100′s. I guess that makes a difference. It would be nice though to have more customization on a social utility app but then again it would be complicated to manage on both ends.

    By the way I never send photos but links to files containing the photos. That way they do not get marked as spam or placed in the junk folder.

    Personal touches count even in this web 2.0 world and it would be nice if these apps allowed for more of that.

  2. Robert,

    Thanks for the reply. I do have a few close friends not like you who has friends in the 100′s. I guess that makes a difference. It would be nice though to have more customization on a social utility app but then again it would be complicated to manage on both ends.

    By the way I never send photos but links to files containing the photos. That way they do not get marked as spam or placed in the junk folder.

    Personal touches count even in this web 2.0 world and it would be nice if these apps allowed for more of that.

  3. @34 Josh has a good point Save for business travel, we find that the majority of people go to hotels to escape from their known world. The last thing they want is to be reminded from whence they came. What most people want from a hotel is for them to give them great service. Remember the type of room they like, the type of bedding and amenities. And most hotels that could afford to provide the service you describe, Robert seem to already have frequent guest offerings where they track your preferences. I would also think a hotel that would provide the services you describe would likely be one of the most expensive hotels around, given what they would need in place to provide and manage that.

  4. @34 Josh has a good point Save for business travel, we find that the majority of people go to hotels to escape from their known world. The last thing they want is to be reminded from whence they came. What most people want from a hotel is for them to give them great service. Remember the type of room they like, the type of bedding and amenities. And most hotels that could afford to provide the service you describe, Robert seem to already have frequent guest offerings where they track your preferences. I would also think a hotel that would provide the services you describe would likely be one of the most expensive hotels around, given what they would need in place to provide and manage that.

  5. Richard: email is great until you have too much. Then you’ll start getting pushback.

    Glad you have so much time to personally email all your friends. I find I have too many friends (even if you count just the “real ones” that I’ve had a beer with as a friend) to do this.

    I’m hitting this big time in about a week or two with the birth of my son.

    I will not have time to email 100 people individually and deal with all that. Email sucks, personally.

    Instead I’ll put up a private Facebook group and invite people into it that I want to have see the photos. This way I can hit 100 friends and family instantly without doing much work.

    No, if you need to customize what each friend sees, email is more appropriate. But generally that isn’t the case.

    It bugs me when I get photos sent to me in email, by the way. It fills up my storage space, if you do it wrong, and it clutters up my space that’s for real communication with other people. Not to mention it might get thrown into junk folder, so I’d miss it.

  6. Richard: email is great until you have too much. Then you’ll start getting pushback.

    Glad you have so much time to personally email all your friends. I find I have too many friends (even if you count just the “real ones” that I’ve had a beer with as a friend) to do this.

    I’m hitting this big time in about a week or two with the birth of my son.

    I will not have time to email 100 people individually and deal with all that. Email sucks, personally.

    Instead I’ll put up a private Facebook group and invite people into it that I want to have see the photos. This way I can hit 100 friends and family instantly without doing much work.

    No, if you need to customize what each friend sees, email is more appropriate. But generally that isn’t the case.

    It bugs me when I get photos sent to me in email, by the way. It fills up my storage space, if you do it wrong, and it clutters up my space that’s for real communication with other people. Not to mention it might get thrown into junk folder, so I’d miss it.

  7. Robert,

    Perhaps you are right that some people just do not get facebook. Count me in on that crowd. I like a personal touch when interacting with my friends. For instance after my trip overseas I had a bunch of photos to share with a lot of my friends. i could have just posted them up on Facebook and then asked everyone to join facebook to see my pictures. No instead I customized each email to each friend based upon what I knew they would like the most. Each friend recieved an individualized treatment and was not forced to read an aggregator of my life. I know what each and every one of my friends prefer and try to cater to that need. I do not believe you can do this with facebook. Am I missing something? I am not trying to be confrontational here I am just curious if is possible to customize what each friend sees. If that is not possible then I would rather spend the time to make sure each friend was treated differently because each one is different. When a social utility allows me to give a personal touch then I will understand this social utility sites. Otherwise it is old fashioned email and good time spent on each friend.

    So I guess I do not get facebook. I think my friends are thankful for that though.

  8. Robert,

    Perhaps you are right that some people just do not get facebook. Count me in on that crowd. I like a personal touch when interacting with my friends. For instance after my trip overseas I had a bunch of photos to share with a lot of my friends. i could have just posted them up on Facebook and then asked everyone to join facebook to see my pictures. No instead I customized each email to each friend based upon what I knew they would like the most. Each friend recieved an individualized treatment and was not forced to read an aggregator of my life. I know what each and every one of my friends prefer and try to cater to that need. I do not believe you can do this with facebook. Am I missing something? I am not trying to be confrontational here I am just curious if is possible to customize what each friend sees. If that is not possible then I would rather spend the time to make sure each friend was treated differently because each one is different. When a social utility allows me to give a personal touch then I will understand this social utility sites. Otherwise it is old fashioned email and good time spent on each friend.

    So I guess I do not get facebook. I think my friends are thankful for that though.

  9. Let’s see, Google knows every person I have sent or received email from for the last three years.

    Google knows just about every place I have visited by car.

    Google knows where I have traveled, where I stayed when I was there, what sites I planned on visiting, and where I intended to eat.

    Google can guess when I am about to buy a new car, household appliance, phone, television, computer, etc. It can surmise which car, phone, or camera I decided to purchase by my queries for a service departments phone number and what accessories I research.

    Google knows what events I attend, which blogs I find interesting and which I don’t, what news I read, what issues I find important. Google probably knows what political party I support and who I will vote for next November.

    Google can guess what ailments my friends or family are suffer from. Google can guess when a close friend or family member dies.

    Google knows a lot about me.

  10. Let’s see, Google knows every person I have sent or received email from for the last three years.

    Google knows just about every place I have visited by car.

    Google knows where I have traveled, where I stayed when I was there, what sites I planned on visiting, and where I intended to eat.

    Google can guess when I am about to buy a new car, household appliance, phone, television, computer, etc. It can surmise which car, phone, or camera I decided to purchase by my queries for a service departments phone number and what accessories I research.

    Google knows what events I attend, which blogs I find interesting and which I don’t, what news I read, what issues I find important. Google probably knows what political party I support and who I will vote for next November.

    Google can guess what ailments my friends or family are suffer from. Google can guess when a close friend or family member dies.

    Google knows a lot about me.

  11. That’s why I love you, Scoble, your tongue speaks your emotions :D
    I have some clue about the way Facebook works, but I won’t argue with expert like you ;)

  12. That’s why I love you, Scoble, your tongue speaks your emotions :D
    I have some clue about the way Facebook works, but I won’t argue with expert like you ;)

  13. meanguy: Google doesn’t know my favorite music. It doesn’t know my favorite activities. It doesn’t know my favorite friends. It doesn’t know a lot of things that Facebook does.

    Truden: if my Facebook friends aren’t getting enough out of the relationship I’d expect them to unsubscribe.

    But, you don’t have a clue how Facebook works. I get brought a lot of stuff from people I’ve never heard of before, not just the most “active,” either.

  14. meanguy: Google doesn’t know my favorite music. It doesn’t know my favorite activities. It doesn’t know my favorite friends. It doesn’t know a lot of things that Facebook does.

    Truden: if my Facebook friends aren’t getting enough out of the relationship I’d expect them to unsubscribe.

    But, you don’t have a clue how Facebook works. I get brought a lot of stuff from people I’ve never heard of before, not just the most “active,” either.

  15. The hotel problem has little to do with Facebook — it’s a open authentication + shared profile problem. Facebook at the moment solves neither and is not positioned to solve either.

    The hard part isn’t the authentication or the tracking, it’s guarding the profile data and building confidence with the users to allow them to share that data with trusted third parties approved by the user.

    I see you’ve forgotten Hailstorm? Six and a half years ago:

    [[ "HailStorm" services will allow unprecedented collaboration and integration between the users' devices, their software and their personal data. With "HailStorm", users will have even greater and more specific control over what people, businesses and technologies have access to their personal information. ]]

    Perhaps give Lucovsky a call? Google has far more users and far more valuable profile data than Facebook does… and it ain’t comin’ from Orkut.

  16. The hotel problem has little to do with Facebook — it’s a open authentication + shared profile problem. Facebook at the moment solves neither and is not positioned to solve either.

    The hard part isn’t the authentication or the tracking, it’s guarding the profile data and building confidence with the users to allow them to share that data with trusted third parties approved by the user.

    I see you’ve forgotten Hailstorm? Six and a half years ago:

    [[ "HailStorm" services will allow unprecedented collaboration and integration between the users' devices, their software and their personal data. With "HailStorm", users will have even greater and more specific control over what people, businesses and technologies have access to their personal information. ]]

    Perhaps give Lucovsky a call? Google has far more users and far more valuable profile data than Facebook does… and it ain’t comin’ from Orkut.

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  18. scraping facebook feeds: bernard is right! :) he would need to scrape the feed (off of the main news-feeds) the ones that facebook already provides are status updates and notifications. I think facebook might probably try to block something like this tough.

    RBA: the fact that most facebook apps work “inside” facebook is a design or implementation choice, not a requirement of the platform. i.e. having the app display inside fb saves a lot of developer time (design/seesion tracking/fbml). I’m pretty sure however we will start seeing many external sites using the FB platform soon.

  19. scraping facebook feeds: bernard is right! :) he would need to scrape the feed (off of the main news-feeds) the ones that facebook already provides are status updates and notifications. I think facebook might probably try to block something like this tough.

    RBA: the fact that most facebook apps work “inside” facebook is a design or implementation choice, not a requirement of the platform. i.e. having the app display inside fb saves a lot of developer time (design/seesion tracking/fbml). I’m pretty sure however we will start seeing many external sites using the FB platform soon.

  20. The idealistic side of me says, yah that’d be a super cool hotel, but the realist in me is saying, would people seriously want a hotel to know their friends, and everything about them? I’m worried about even giving my phone number to Canadian Tire or BestBuy when I make a return for fear of being added to some consumer calling-list. When I travel, I like to remain somewhat anonymous and take out my own experiences. I know privacy is so 20th century!!! ps. YummyFriends.com a Facebook for grown-ups.

  21. The idealistic side of me says, yah that’d be a super cool hotel, but the realist in me is saying, would people seriously want a hotel to know their friends, and everything about them? I’m worried about even giving my phone number to Canadian Tire or BestBuy when I make a return for fear of being added to some consumer calling-list. When I travel, I like to remain somewhat anonymous and take out my own experiences. I know privacy is so 20th century!!! ps. YummyFriends.com a Facebook for grown-ups.

  22. Facebook and blogging are two separate phenomenas. Facebook is a virtual “third place” and blogs are “personal magazines”. I love both vehicles for self-expression. This notion that Facebook is not for pushing content is silly. If you are not trying to present something about yourself to someone else, what are you doing? If you don’t want to present yourself to the world, then you can pull content from a Google search, and no one will know you are there.
    I like Facebook for the same reasons you suggest Scoble. It is a way to stay in touch with other people, and them with me. I’ve been Facebooking (verb?) for a couple months. I’ve had more contact with some old friends in those few weeks than I have had in more than a decade. What I’ve come to realize is that Facebook serves a population that blogging doesn’t. I know lots of people who have a Facebook site, but never read blogs. And if they add the Blog Friends application, they don’t need a RSS reader, all they need is to see what their friends are reading, and connect from there. It this sense Facebook acts as a portal, where blogs don’t. Both have their value, it is just different. What also interests me is how different Facebook is to MySpace. Now if there is a social networking site that is about pushing content, then MySpace is the king, not Facebook.

  23. Facebook and blogging are two separate phenomenas. Facebook is a virtual “third place” and blogs are “personal magazines”. I love both vehicles for self-expression. This notion that Facebook is not for pushing content is silly. If you are not trying to present something about yourself to someone else, what are you doing? If you don’t want to present yourself to the world, then you can pull content from a Google search, and no one will know you are there.
    I like Facebook for the same reasons you suggest Scoble. It is a way to stay in touch with other people, and them with me. I’ve been Facebooking (verb?) for a couple months. I’ve had more contact with some old friends in those few weeks than I have had in more than a decade. What I’ve come to realize is that Facebook serves a population that blogging doesn’t. I know lots of people who have a Facebook site, but never read blogs. And if they add the Blog Friends application, they don’t need a RSS reader, all they need is to see what their friends are reading, and connect from there. It this sense Facebook acts as a portal, where blogs don’t. Both have their value, it is just different. What also interests me is how different Facebook is to MySpace. Now if there is a social networking site that is about pushing content, then MySpace is the king, not Facebook.

  24. Neat idea–the hotel. It’s also, no offense, a place that I’d never ever ever want to book a reservation at (course, carried to an extreme I probably wouldn’t even have to book the reservation, it’d just know :-)).

    The levels of customization companies can take advantage of to offer good customer service, could be amazingly useful, but it also freaks me out. I think it prevents us from exposure to the dangerous, possibly thought and preference-changing, elements of the unknown.

    I mean, I both need and want to hear new music in order to be able to ever list it as a “like.” Sometimes I hear that new music from friends, sometimes playing in a store, or even a hotel lobby.

    I don’t want my hotel room to automatically be showing me my photos on digital displays. If it did, they risk becoming mundane and boring, rather than important and dear. Let me live out my trip to wherever, experiencing the new as opposed to the known.

    The great sadness in molding experience to predefined customer preferences is that we seal ourselves into some time passed, that was captured in memory and tastes, and we discourage growing beyond that.

    (by the way, although I’m no fan of advertising, it peeves me that when I look at a British web site, I get exposed to Canadian ads because it detects where I’m surfing from–I want to know what’s going on in England, that’s why I went to the English site).

  25. Neat idea–the hotel. It’s also, no offense, a place that I’d never ever ever want to book a reservation at (course, carried to an extreme I probably wouldn’t even have to book the reservation, it’d just know :-)).

    The levels of customization companies can take advantage of to offer good customer service, could be amazingly useful, but it also freaks me out. I think it prevents us from exposure to the dangerous, possibly thought and preference-changing, elements of the unknown.

    I mean, I both need and want to hear new music in order to be able to ever list it as a “like.” Sometimes I hear that new music from friends, sometimes playing in a store, or even a hotel lobby.

    I don’t want my hotel room to automatically be showing me my photos on digital displays. If it did, they risk becoming mundane and boring, rather than important and dear. Let me live out my trip to wherever, experiencing the new as opposed to the known.

    The great sadness in molding experience to predefined customer preferences is that we seal ourselves into some time passed, that was captured in memory and tastes, and we discourage growing beyond that.

    (by the way, although I’m no fan of advertising, it peeves me that when I look at a British web site, I get exposed to Canadian ads because it detects where I’m surfing from–I want to know what’s going on in England, that’s why I went to the English site).

  26. Scoble, I like the new, longer, in-depth posts from the past couple days. The break has served you well. I much prefer comments, thoughts and analysis like this from you than short blurbs pointing out things that are going on it the tech world.

  27. Scoble, I like the new, longer, in-depth posts from the past couple days. The break has served you well. I much prefer comments, thoughts and analysis like this from you than short blurbs pointing out things that are going on it the tech world.

  28. @ hugh macleod:
    Yes, they can unsubscribe, if there is no hope for them that one day Scoble will notice them :D

    It is the circle of the hope, but as we know, the more you have the more you get.

  29. @ hugh macleod:
    Yes, they can unsubscribe, if there is no hope for them that one day Scoble will notice them :D

    It is the circle of the hope, but as we know, the more you have the more you get.

  30. “I’m starting to delete comments from people who don’t add any value here. Get your own blog if all you want to do is attack me.”

    Good decision, Robert :)

  31. “I’m starting to delete comments from people who don’t add any value here. Get your own blog if all you want to do is attack me.”

    Good decision, Robert :)

  32. After watching the video, this Facebook Hotel sounds positively Orwellian. Big screens that tell your data. RFID cards that automatically tell others your interests. I’ll save a few bucks and stay in a Motel 8.

  33. After watching the video, this Facebook Hotel sounds positively Orwellian. Big screens that tell your data. RFID cards that automatically tell others your interests. I’ll save a few bucks and stay in a Motel 8.

  34. Truden, if Scoble’s “friends” object to what you call Scoble “pushing”, they unsubscribe from Scoble with a simple click of a mouse.

    i.e. Again, they can act like grownups.

  35. Truden, if Scoble’s “friends” object to what you call Scoble “pushing”, they unsubscribe from Scoble with a simple click of a mouse.

    i.e. Again, they can act like grownups.

  36. Before to comment, I’d like to state that this is not an attack against you, Robert.
    In fact, I love you very much.

    Pushing your web site content through Facebook and all social networks is the most used technique by the weblog money makers.
    Yes, you don’t see your content in Facebook and here is the catch – the other users see it (all your 4,775 friends). Isn’t that “pushing content”?

    I doubt that you read all of your friends. You’ll notice only the most active from them. And because you are the most active of all, all of them will notice you and read you.
    Make sense, eh?

    Facebook is not a bad place especially for lonely people, but when one like Scoble is stuffing it up so hard in my nose, I start to feel like Scoble is attacking me for some reason.

    What would be that reason?

  37. Before to comment, I’d like to state that this is not an attack against you, Robert.
    In fact, I love you very much.

    Pushing your web site content through Facebook and all social networks is the most used technique by the weblog money makers.
    Yes, you don’t see your content in Facebook and here is the catch – the other users see it (all your 4,775 friends). Isn’t that “pushing content”?

    I doubt that you read all of your friends. You’ll notice only the most active from them. And because you are the most active of all, all of them will notice you and read you.
    Make sense, eh?

    Facebook is not a bad place especially for lonely people, but when one like Scoble is stuffing it up so hard in my nose, I start to feel like Scoble is attacking me for some reason.

    What would be that reason?

  38. Reminds me of casinos which keep track of your interests and know what you like and don’t. If you didn’t like casinos doing that, why would this be any better ? Your friends knowing about you is one thing… and while system knowing about your good friends might also be acceptable… but if the system really uses that information for anything else you don’t want it to be used for, it might be a little scary :)

    And I’m not talking about just a hotel anymore. Even if facebook sends me a “facebook visa credit card” application with my favorite band’s photograph, or with a photograph which describes my personal habits, , ethnicity or medical history it might be be deemed inappropriate.

  39. Reminds me of casinos which keep track of your interests and know what you like and don’t. If you didn’t like casinos doing that, why would this be any better ? Your friends knowing about you is one thing… and while system knowing about your good friends might also be acceptable… but if the system really uses that information for anything else you don’t want it to be used for, it might be a little scary :)

    And I’m not talking about just a hotel anymore. Even if facebook sends me a “facebook visa credit card” application with my favorite band’s photograph, or with a photograph which describes my personal habits, , ethnicity or medical history it might be be deemed inappropriate.

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