“Facebook Follies” and what might an open social network format look like?
Baratunde writes a post on how he uses Facebook. There’s a lot of interesting stuff on the site’s super-secret policies with regards to marketing, and the limits / dangers of using social network sites. Baratunde also talks about the difficulty of reaching and marketing to fans who are too lazy, naïve, and/or overwhelmed by information and social networks to follow anyone who isn’t on Facebook or MySpace.
This is all very troubling. I invested a lot into Facebook, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve discovered, painfully, that Facebook doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t value me nearly as much as IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d hoped. I took one of my most important assets, my relationship with my fans, and allowed Facebook to mediate a large portion of it. Sure, I still have my email list and blog subscribers and my pedophiliac MySpace friends, but the loss of access to my Facebook group will be felt. Facebook users are still largely college folks, and thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of the few groups that will actually pay me to perform.
Also read Baratunde’s previous post My beef with Facebook: so much untapped possibility.
Chalk me up as one person who doesn’t ‘get’ Facebook, or how it’s so “different” from other social networking sites, API and elitist history / user base aside.
But Baratunde’s post makes me wonder about the possibility of an open standard for describing your relationships on various social sites. What if social networking as a function became a commodity, allowing you to import and export your friends and profiles, say through XFN and hCard? How would they or could they then differentiate themselves? (Dopplr.com, which is in an invite-only beta mode, allows imports of XFN and hCard data).
Would users be more loyal to a site that allowed them to keep control over their own data? Would MySpace still be popular because of sheer inertia, or would the ability to pick up and move make people leave in droves?
Related (though perhaps only if you expand the definition of “related”):