A year or so ago, Facebook unveiled something that has radically changed the landscape of the web and social networking sites in particular. As the first major and tightly integrated social network application platform (SNAP) to hit the market, Facebook was able to shift our expectations from what we had previously expected to get from a social site to something with theoretically endless possibilities. What emerged next, I don’t think even facebook had the foresight to predict.
I have a theory, and its that facebook didn’t want or expect the platform to become what it has. They had something else entirely in mind when they built it, and the upcoming changes to the metrics/engagement rules are proof of their original mindset. Facebook didn’t want disposable apps, they wanted people to add value, real value to the platform. Facebook was looking for people to find new ways to tie in the social graph data they were offering into new and useful tools. Facebook refers to itself as a social utility, not a network, and what does a utility do? It powers things. So what does facebook want to do? Power the web through social connections and relationships.
So what does the next generation of the platform have in store for us? Well to me it seems like they have taken a long hard look at the existing app usage, proliferation, and made a decision; one that many will find unpleasant. Facebook wants us to build things that improve upon their users lives: social shopping, social search, social recommendations, and maybe social gaming. Any activity that is improved by having your friends around is one that facebook wants to be a part of. So we’ll probably see this stuff percolating into existing sites as they adapt, but more than likely people will heed this advice and start building new sites that capitalize on it. And the apps in facebook doing this will ultimately be rewarded by Facebook through promotion and more functionality.
Now bear in mind that this is all my own personal opinion, I haven’t asked any of my friends at facebook about it. It is all based on my observations, and what I would want if I was in facebook’s position. So what are you waiting for? The social revolution awaits!