I was on CNBC earlier today to answer the question, “Is Mark Zuckerberg In Over His Hoodie?”, facing off against Silverback Social CEO Chris Dessi.
My argument was simple: Facebook stock has been on the rise in the last six months, and replacing a founder with a manager at the CEO level is usually a disaster (just ask Apple).
Check it out and let me know what you think.
By now you’ve probably heard about Graph Search, Facebook’s all-encompassing, natural language search experience that Zuckerberg calls one of the “three pillars” of Facebook (the other two being Timeline and Newsfeed).
It’s a major change for the social network (I’ll have more thoughts on it soon), but will search do the same thing for Facebook as it did for Google — aka make tons of money?
That was the question I was asked on CNBC today, along with Julia Boorstin and Social Internet Fund’s Lou Kerner. It turned into a lively debate that I’m still reflecting on.
Let me know what you think of Facebook Graph Search.
Update 9/9/08: I’m pretty sure I was wrong on some of the points of this article. Facebook agressively launches features, and despite the slow rollout of the new facebook layout, it’s created a small revolt which I expect to become a bigger one soon enough. Read on, I stand by my work, but know that I feel like I was off the mark on some points.
Two years ago, I was intimately involved in the Facebook News Feed fiasco. Facebook launched the feature, users (including myself) rebelled, Facebook had to code immediate changes to quell the revolt. The end result of the entire affair was a bruised but smarter Facebook. Since News Feed, Facebook has had more success with the Facebook Platform and prevented major rebellions over their failed Beacon launch. Oh, and Facebook overshadows its rival MySpace and continues light-speed growth.
A week ago, Facebook launched the beta of the Facebook profile redesign to very little fanfare. The response from the blogosphere and general users has been…
Well, there really hasn’t been one.
Sure, some users has opinions, but a lot of users have yet to switch to the opt-in system (I’m assuming it’ll eventually be mandatory to switch once the bugs are worked out). At least with News Feed, there was significant media coverage, passionate people on both sides, and the ideal outcome for Facebook: News Feed became a hit. The Facebook Platform had passionate people developing apps and huge adoption by users. But since then, things have slowed. Beacon has simply vanished without a second attempt (I still think it was a smart innovation, just an unfortunate deployment) the Platform has created user blindness to application invites and general application usage, and the new profile redesign has received little criticism, but as a trade-off, it has received no enthusiasm from its heart – the users.
Make no mistake: the Facebook profile redesign is not an innovation, but rather a reaction to the unintended side-effects of the Facebook Platform. To control application spam and reverse user blindness, they needed to do this. But while they were doing this, why not throw in a few innovations, like a FriendFeed-like interface? Or a publisher tool? Or a tabbing system?
But what if users don’t like it? Well, let’s slowly give them (and the news and blogosphere) information about it and make sure they aren’t shocked by the changes.
However, that solution has a side-effect: people don’t get excited. There’s been coverage of the redesign, but it’s been a slow and steady stream. The result is that lots of users hear about the redesign and, when it finally comes, say “eh.”
It’s important to get your users excited about new features and products. Sometimes it’s about buildup to a date (Facebook didn’t do any build-up) and sometimes it’s about surprising your users and delighting them (Facebook didn’t do this either). Facebook purposely lowered expectations about the redesign and never made any dramatics about the launch. The result’s well, nothing. No great fanfare, no great reaction, no great revolt.
The approach is simply too cautious - if you don’t keep your users excited about what you do, you become old and eventually lose them to hotter and smarter competitors. Facebook has been catching up to FriendFeed in features rather than leading the way in innovation. Facebook needs to take back its innovation mantle or it may see itself become the next MySpace.
A few days ago, I wrote an article asking how you would rebuild and change Facebook given the opportunity. It got me thinking some more, so I wanted to share my thoughts on the future of social networking, Web 3.0, and what role both could play in our lives. Sorry, but I’m doing this one in parts. Otherwise I might be up all night.
So let me start with three statements:
I believe that social networks have the potential to transform how we manage and run our lives.
I believe there is the opportunity for a new social network to compete with MySpace and Facebook as the top dog or “the Google” of social networks, but that it may never come to fruition. I think Facebook especially is nimble enough to seize on the opportunities.
I think the next great social network will be tied strongly with mobile phones and even GPS.
Take my statements as you will, I intend to walk you through my logic in four articles on Web 3.0 and social networks. But we’ve got to start by talking about Web 3.0.
Web 3.0: Making Social Networks UsefulReally quickly, I need to define Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0 for you. I’m going to use the Resourceful Idiot definition, because it explains it in terms of progression.
Web 1.0: Turning “Hard” data (books, movies, opinions) into Digital Data. Examples include Netscape, Geocities, and AOL (they were all ways to post content online or gain access to that data). There were rudimentary ways to share this data (i.e. sending a link to a friend). But we knew we could do it better, so…
Web 2.0:Taking that Digital Data and finding better ways to share it. Facebook shares data via a social graph, RSS Feeds and News Readers sends news and data from other sources to one location (my Google Reader for example), flickr and YouTube shares photo and video data by integrating the data with other websites and APIs (application programming interface). Basically, we found better ways to share data in Web 2.0
Web 3.0: Now that we’ve shared the data, let’s do something with it. Let’s figure out trends, let’s integrate two service to make a better one, let’s solve problems with all of this data.
Now how does this relate to social networks? I’m using Facebook as my example. What do you use your Facebook for? Talking to friends, promoting events, seeing what they are up to, wasting time. This is nowhere near the potential of Facebook’s uses, but this is what most users use Facebook for. You’re sharing experiences and data, but you’re certainly not solving the world’s most pressing problems with it, yet (unless you could activism, but it’s only a tiny fraction of how Facebook is used)
So let’s talk about a Web 3.0 Social Network. As I’ve defined it in this article, the Web 3.0 social network not only allows you to share information, but allows you to take that information and do something useful with it. It save you time, it saves you energy, it saves you money, or a combination of the three.
Facebook saves time, energy, and money in some respects: We exert less energy keeping up to date with our friends and we don’t have to spend as much time doing it. But it’s not leveraging the information to, say, figure out where we can go next to network, prioritize our relationships, or use our combined knowledge to save the environment.
The next social network will be able to do all three. The next social network will be able to take all of the information it gathers on you and your friends and will be able to use it to prioritize our lives, save us time, and use our combined knowledge to solve social and world issues.
Facebook and MySpace don’t yet meet these criteria.
Coming in Part 2: How a Web 3.0 social network could transform our lives (with examples!)
Today is the official launch of FriendQuilts, a dynamic, useful, and incredible Facebook application that I firmly believe improves the usefulness of Facebook and will catch fire with Facebook users.
Okay, so I’m biased because I’m part of the project. Sue me after you’ve visited the app.
We would like to invite you to participate in the launch of Free Lunch and Sociable Apps newest facebook application, FriendQuilts. This unique online application let’s you show off your digital photos and videos in an exciting and interactive way!
Don’t want to deal with having to upload your stuff? We automatically support Facebook photos, web images, and Youtube videos. Check out some of the screen shots below for details.
No registration is required to view and interact with quilts. Customization is simple and easy.
Share photo albums around events. Invite your friends to fill in your empty patches. Zoom in to view and play videos at a larger size.
FAQ:“How much does this cost?”
FriendQuilts is entirely free.
“What if I don’t have a facebook account?”
No problem, you can still view and interact with quilts anytime you see them. Although you can always sign up for a facebook account here.
“What about privacy?”
We provide a variety of privacy settings to meet all needs. Quilts can vary from “Invite Only” to “Public” with the click of a button.