It’s Facebook day

Everyone I talk to is interested in Facebook. Every week they are adding about a million new users and growing 3.3%.

Mike Arrington of TechCrunch is at a big shindig in San Francisco and will report throughout the afternoon.

Why is Facebook so valueable? Well, I had lunch with a venture capitalist today and he explained to me just how much information and how much time the average Facebook user is putting into the system. It’s going to let Facebook deliver very targeted advertising, he told me. Much more than many more popular sites. Look at Digg, for instance, Can you figure anything out about the users of Digg? No. So, how will you send targeted advertising to them?

Facebook is one of two services (LinkedIn being the other) where my readers beg me to join almost every day. I’m going to give in soon. Oh, and there are lots of other bloggers at the Facebook developer shindig too. TechMeme already is linking to most of them. Anything else that’s cool will be on my link blog.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. Hi Robert –

    I was very skeptical about Facebook. . . really hesitant to join. This week I decided to give it a try. Right off the bat I was VERY put off by the amount of information they want to get from you. If you want to build your network of friends, one of the first things it asks you to do is enter your username and password for your e-mail account so Facebook can scan it for contacts that are already members. Even though the site says it won’t store your account information or e-mail anyone without your permission, I’m still HIGHLY skeptical about entering a password for one service into another.

    For safety, there’s a text verification system in place for every time you want to e-mail someone or add a friend. That can get annoying – and if you want to avoid the text verification, they ask you to enter your cell phone number to verify that you’re a real person. As a skeptic, I’m not likely to ever enter my cell phone number – but with a service like this, I suppose solace can be found in the fact that so many people seem to use the service without complaint. (Or are we sheep?)

    In spite of these points – I’m actually very impressed with Facebook. One of the best parts of the service is that it really ends up feeling very organic. Things are always changing with your friends and contacts – and you’re always notified about when a friend has added a friend, or changed a profile photo, or commented to another friend. These items appear right on the front page in your “News Feed” – so you’re always up-to-date.

    Facebook also incorporates “Status Updates” that you can change easily and often. These give you the very same functionality you’ve been raving about with Twitter. I actually find myself excited to see new updates about my friends as they happen – and because this is a full fledged social networking system, I can interact with my friends more freely and in more ways. I can see this becoming addicting.

    Additionally, you can draw connections between all your friends instead of just adding them to your list. Others who look at your friends list get to know who’s family, who you met in college or high school or work, etc, etc. Perhaps it’s all trivial – but it really helps create the feeling of community. It removes the randomness of social networking structures like MySpace.

    . . . I don’t know, Robert. I’m impressed. I didn’t want to be impressed. . . but it seems to have happened. I’d be very interested in your take on the service.

    -James

  2. Hi Robert –

    I was very skeptical about Facebook. . . really hesitant to join. This week I decided to give it a try. Right off the bat I was VERY put off by the amount of information they want to get from you. If you want to build your network of friends, one of the first things it asks you to do is enter your username and password for your e-mail account so Facebook can scan it for contacts that are already members. Even though the site says it won’t store your account information or e-mail anyone without your permission, I’m still HIGHLY skeptical about entering a password for one service into another.

    For safety, there’s a text verification system in place for every time you want to e-mail someone or add a friend. That can get annoying – and if you want to avoid the text verification, they ask you to enter your cell phone number to verify that you’re a real person. As a skeptic, I’m not likely to ever enter my cell phone number – but with a service like this, I suppose solace can be found in the fact that so many people seem to use the service without complaint. (Or are we sheep?)

    In spite of these points – I’m actually very impressed with Facebook. One of the best parts of the service is that it really ends up feeling very organic. Things are always changing with your friends and contacts – and you’re always notified about when a friend has added a friend, or changed a profile photo, or commented to another friend. These items appear right on the front page in your “News Feed” – so you’re always up-to-date.

    Facebook also incorporates “Status Updates” that you can change easily and often. These give you the very same functionality you’ve been raving about with Twitter. I actually find myself excited to see new updates about my friends as they happen – and because this is a full fledged social networking system, I can interact with my friends more freely and in more ways. I can see this becoming addicting.

    Additionally, you can draw connections between all your friends instead of just adding them to your list. Others who look at your friends list get to know who’s family, who you met in college or high school or work, etc, etc. Perhaps it’s all trivial – but it really helps create the feeling of community. It removes the randomness of social networking structures like MySpace.

    . . . I don’t know, Robert. I’m impressed. I didn’t want to be impressed. . . but it seems to have happened. I’d be very interested in your take on the service.

    -James

  3. FaceBook has a really good API too. We are going to see plenty more great 3rd party apps leveraging user data.
    A platform both for developers and advertisers is a killer combination!

  4. FaceBook has a really good API too. We are going to see plenty more great 3rd party apps leveraging user data.
    A platform both for developers and advertisers is a killer combination!

  5. I’m starting to think that social networking sites are inherently flashes in the pan. One grows, then the users grow tired of it, then move on to a new one. Friendster -> MySpace -> Facebook is what I’ve observed.

    I think venture capitalists would be better served looking into ventures that provide a real service to people, where “service” is not “a place where people can hang out and make friends lists”.

  6. I’m starting to think that social networking sites are inherently flashes in the pan. One grows, then the users grow tired of it, then move on to a new one. Friendster -> MySpace -> Facebook is what I’ve observed.

    I think venture capitalists would be better served looking into ventures that provide a real service to people, where “service” is not “a place where people can hang out and make friends lists”.

  7. This is a huge move. Have you seen the list of partners announced Robert? Twitter is one of them. Perhaps that might make you make the jump? lol.

    So essentially, you now get Twitter within Facebook, with your existing network of real friends.

    Reallt hough… this is a huge announcement. One that wont get the respect it deserves (I see people dismissing it as widgets over on TechCrunch).

  8. This is a huge move. Have you seen the list of partners announced Robert? Twitter is one of them. Perhaps that might make you make the jump? lol.

    So essentially, you now get Twitter within Facebook, with your existing network of real friends.

    Reallt hough… this is a huge announcement. One that wont get the respect it deserves (I see people dismissing it as widgets over on TechCrunch).

  9. Hot today, has-been tomorrow.

    Friendster hype, Gaiaonline hype, MySpace hype, Orkut hype, Cyworld hype, Bebo hype, Hi5 hype, Faceparty hype, XuGa hype, Linked In hype, Tagged hype, Multiply hype, Yahoo! 360 hype, iMeem hype, BlackPlanet hype, Xanga hype, MiGente hype, Classmates hype, Facebook hype…all will cool off, and move on. Youthful audience, that will flock to the next new new trendy hot thing. Facebook fares a little better, ironically, as it tones down the strict social networking elements, and grips a little more in real life, creating local micro-communities. Social networking for the sake of social networking isn’t going to pass muster.

  10. Hot today, has-been tomorrow.

    Friendster hype, Gaiaonline hype, MySpace hype, Orkut hype, Cyworld hype, Bebo hype, Hi5 hype, Faceparty hype, XuGa hype, Linked In hype, Tagged hype, Multiply hype, Yahoo! 360 hype, iMeem hype, BlackPlanet hype, Xanga hype, MiGente hype, Classmates hype, Facebook hype…all will cool off, and move on. Youthful audience, that will flock to the next new new trendy hot thing. Facebook fares a little better, ironically, as it tones down the strict social networking elements, and grips a little more in real life, creating local micro-communities. Social networking for the sake of social networking isn’t going to pass muster.

  11. I am a big fan of Facebook. It is fantastic for staying connecting with friends (old and new). It is the complete opposite of MySpace and that is a good thing.

  12. Its non techie types joining in droves now, its the Geni type of people. Its just fun. I will need to thin my friends after awhile and focus on real life friends.

  13. Its non techie types joining in droves now, its the Geni type of people. Its just fun. I will need to thin my friends after awhile and focus on real life friends.

  14. I am a big fan of Facebook. It is fantastic for staying connecting with friends (old and new). It is the complete opposite of MySpace and that is a good thing.

  15. I find it interesting that almost all of the sites you mention Christopher – Friendster, Gaia, MySpace, Orkut, Cyworld, Bebo hi5, LinkedIn, Tagged, Multiply, imeem, Xanga and Facebook are seeing strong growth off large user bases. Not seeing the hype you’re referring to.

  16. I find it interesting that almost all of the sites you mention Christopher – Friendster, Gaia, MySpace, Orkut, Cyworld, Bebo hi5, LinkedIn, Tagged, Multiply, imeem, Xanga and Facebook are seeing strong growth off large user bases. Not seeing the hype you’re referring to.

  17. Overall, Facebook is pretty cool. I do have two issues at present that I’d like to see improved.

    1) I can’t join communities of companies that I’ve worked at in the past. This is a serious shortcoming.

    2) They made a change without my getting a notice that allows your name to be indexed in search engines. Their answer to this is to make yourself invisible to the whole community to turn this off, that is not what I’d find optimal. I’d like anyone logged in to find me and anyone not logged in to not even know I have a profile in the outside world.
    http://www.daviddalka.com/createvalue/2007/05/18/facebook-spamming-your-identity-to-drive-their-traffic/

  18. Overall, Facebook is pretty cool. I do have two issues at present that I’d like to see improved.

    1) I can’t join communities of companies that I’ve worked at in the past. This is a serious shortcoming.

    2) They made a change without my getting a notice that allows your name to be indexed in search engines. Their answer to this is to make yourself invisible to the whole community to turn this off, that is not what I’d find optimal. I’d like anyone logged in to find me and anyone not logged in to not even know I have a profile in the outside world.
    http://www.daviddalka.com/createvalue/2007/05/18/facebook-spamming-your-identity-to-drive-their-traffic/

  19. I too was very skeptical about Facebook, but I went to check it out as I have all the rest, expecting the same result – not much.

    As an earlier commenter said, though, I’ve stuck around and I’m very impressed with the site.

    The first thing, though, is to dispense with this idea that the site has to have a complex or sophisticated goal. Facebook does, but it’s pretty simple – the goal is simply to have fun and enjoy it.

    LinkedIn has a goal and it does a very good job at it – but I would never want Facebook to do what LinkedIn does, nor would I want the converse. I don’t want my high school buddies or people I know purely socially in my LinkedIn network – but I definitely enjoy having them in my Facebook friends.

    Overall, Facebook hits a very happy medium. It’s not so juvenile that it makes us old folks run screaming, but it’s not all buttoned-down either. It makes it easy to add all the friends you want – but that aspect isn’t so in your face that it becomes a competition or anything (which was the case with many of the earlier social networks).

    For me, LinkedIn and Facebook are two great additions to my blog – one, professionally focused, the other, purely social but in a non-annoying way.

  20. I too was very skeptical about Facebook, but I went to check it out as I have all the rest, expecting the same result – not much.

    As an earlier commenter said, though, I’ve stuck around and I’m very impressed with the site.

    The first thing, though, is to dispense with this idea that the site has to have a complex or sophisticated goal. Facebook does, but it’s pretty simple – the goal is simply to have fun and enjoy it.

    LinkedIn has a goal and it does a very good job at it – but I would never want Facebook to do what LinkedIn does, nor would I want the converse. I don’t want my high school buddies or people I know purely socially in my LinkedIn network – but I definitely enjoy having them in my Facebook friends.

    Overall, Facebook hits a very happy medium. It’s not so juvenile that it makes us old folks run screaming, but it’s not all buttoned-down either. It makes it easy to add all the friends you want – but that aspect isn’t so in your face that it becomes a competition or anything (which was the case with many of the earlier social networks).

    For me, LinkedIn and Facebook are two great additions to my blog – one, professionally focused, the other, purely social but in a non-annoying way.

  21. The registration rate is impressive. In my opinion the community will evolve..especially if they make finding friends easier. You might even see people who share professional relationships come closer if they make importing contacts from other clients just as easy as searching for friends via gmail, hotmail, etc…

    “Sorry, we currently only import webmail address books from Hotmail, AOL, Gmail, MSN, and Yahoo. However, if your email client (the program you use to read your email) can export your list of contacts to a file, you can upload the file to Facebook and we will use it to find friends already on the site. For more information, see the “If you use an email client:” section below.”

  22. The registration rate is impressive. In my opinion the community will evolve..especially if they make finding friends easier. You might even see people who share professional relationships come closer if they make importing contacts from other clients just as easy as searching for friends via gmail, hotmail, etc…

    “Sorry, we currently only import webmail address books from Hotmail, AOL, Gmail, MSN, and Yahoo. However, if your email client (the program you use to read your email) can export your list of contacts to a file, you can upload the file to Facebook and we will use it to find friends already on the site. For more information, see the “If you use an email client:” section below.”

  23. Honestly Robert, I’m probably more cynical then you. I resisted joining at first, but I did. Then the next thing you know *boom* this falls into my lap a couple of weeks ago.

    It is a much better service then MySpace or other social networks out there. Very clean interface. It would be good for you to get on there. Plus *plug time* you could get in on Lending Club. :)

    http://blog.lendingclub.com

    Rex

  24. Honestly Robert, I’m probably more cynical then you. I resisted joining at first, but I did. Then the next thing you know *boom* this falls into my lap a couple of weeks ago.

    It is a much better service then MySpace or other social networks out there. Very clean interface. It would be good for you to get on there. Plus *plug time* you could get in on Lending Club. :)

    http://blog.lendingclub.com

    Rex

  25. Although FaceBook states that they will not, without express permission, send email to your list of contacts, they did so in my case. What’s more, after basically plundering a long list of valuable business contacts, they sent off emails to these individuals, signed in my name but without any authorisation. That’s pretty shabby business practice. So beware if you sign up.

  26. Although FaceBook states that they will not, without express permission, send email to your list of contacts, they did so in my case. What’s more, after basically plundering a long list of valuable business contacts, they sent off emails to these individuals, signed in my name but without any authorisation. That’s pretty shabby business practice. So beware if you sign up.