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Facebook, the platform.

Big splash made by Facebook yesterday.  Perhaps bigger than anyone imagined.  Zuckerberg's vision of Facebook as a social networking utility is real.  It's especially impressive how well it has been executed. They are playing to:

  • remove the need for developers to build individual social networking structures.  Want to build a new social network about sharing movies?  Start with your facebook friends and groups, and add a movie ranking system.  Seems as Flixster might already understand this, as they've jumped aboard with their social network now presented as a Facebook widget.
  • make it possible for social network users to consolidate their networks into a single infrastructure moving forward.  I don't need to participate in those other networks if Facebook is the networking platform.
  • build a compelling distribution channel for social applications.  Add a new applet to your Facebook profile, and everyone in your network gets notified.


Mashable has a list of 30 of the new Facebook apps, and more are coming.  Go browse my profile if you want to see the Splashcast widget in use as well.  I created a quickie slideshow of some recent photos in about 5 minutes, just to test it out.  It's down on the right side.

If you believe that Facebook is right, and that social networking is now a utility for other applications, then:

  • What do you do if you're a VoIP player, like Skype, that runs a closed social network?  Fight them or join them?  Smaller players like YackPack are already jumping on the Facebook bandwagon with their WalkieTalkie
  • What do you do if you're a portal player, with an ambition to own your customers' identity? Facebook's move has the potential to niche Google pretty solidly in search. 
  • How about a traditional social networking application like Plaxo or Linkedin (two of my mainstays!)?  I added a little widget called The Online Phonebook today, which keeps phonebooks in synch.  And how much effort would it be to build a recruiting application on top of Facebook, especially since the target market is … college students.

Food for thought. 

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • william May 25, 2007, 5:35 am

    It’s time for Face Book to Pay Up.

    The End of the Plantation system.

    I would like to help a bit in bringing about a new era on the Internet. We can call it web 3.0, or 2.5. I will leave the definition to others that are better at this kind of thing.

    This will be the era of a true revolution in the power of site members. An era where members have the power and the ability to be rewarded monetarily for the value that they add and the revenues that are generated from their work and participation.

    The recent announcements by Face Book that they are going to be the next OS, or the next platform, or the next goggle, reeks of egotism and self indulgence as well as a master slave mentality. In the bravado of the announcements that spewed forth from the reality distorted world of Face Book what was left out was the untold fact that Face Book would have little or no value if it were not for it’s 25 million members.

    The hard fact and truth of the matter is that Face Book makes hundreds of millions of dollars off of the backs of its 25 million members and has no plans to share the true wealth (money) of the revenue they generate with them.

    Does Mr.Zuckerberg or anyone at Face Book believe that they add more value to Face Book than the 25 million members ?

    If the answer is no then the revenue generated and the value added to Face Book should be shared monetarily with the members that have have generated the revenue and added the value. Without the members Face Book would have little or no Value.

    We now live in a technical age where a close to approximate monetary value can be assigned to the value and revenue that Facebook members add to the company. This fact can no longer be hidden, it can be found and it should be known by all of the members that generate the wealth and revenue.

    Why cant we see a graph on Face Book that discloses to the members the amount of revenue that is generated from them in terms of revenue generating partnership deals and advertising ?

    Why cant Facebook give an equitable portion of its ad revenue directly to its 25 million members ?

    Of the revenue that Face Book generates, as a percentage how much is given back to its 25 million members in a monetary form ?

    The advertising revenue that is generated by Face Book come from the actions of the 25 Million members, not the Face Book staff, so the members should receive the lions share of the revenue

    How much stock in the company do the 25 million members that generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Face Book own. Because the 25 million members generate most if not all of the revenue and value for Face Book, shouldn’t they all be stock owners ?

    As a group the 25 million members add value to the company and generate revenue, as a group they should own stock in proportion to the vaue that the add and the revenue that they generate.

    How much is Microsoft paying Face book for the rights to serve ads to Face Book members? Since the value of the ad deal is probably based on the amount of members that face books has, it would make sense that the members should be given a share of the money that Microsoft has paid to Face Book for the rights to serve the ads. Mr Zuckerberg and the rest of the Face Book team should give the 25 million members the money they deserve for the value that they add to Face Book.

    If yahoo would have acquired face book for one billion dollar, would any of this money be given to the 25 million members that have given Face Book the one billion dollar valuation ?

    For a one billion dollar acquisition that is by and large based on membership size as well as advertising revenue generated by the members; it seems that giving each of the 25 million members 1 million dollars would be an almost equatable reward for their participation.

    There is little difference between how Face Book treats its members and the share cropping schemes that were used to generate wealth for rich land owners on the backs of poor people and slaves. At least in the old share cropping schemes the works received a small portion of revenue, in the current situation members receive none of the revenue from the content that they create. Face Book and other sites that do not share the revenue and wealth that members create for them do not understand that the times have changed and the plantation game will no longer work. Now members have the ability to leave the plantation and to either create their own communities or to become members of communities that will pay them an equitable portion of the revenue and value that they create. This is one of the key revolutions of technology. There are no barriers to owning the means of production. Members are the means of productions, and are the value add. The pyramid that had members who are content creators and add value on the bottom has now been turned upside down. Unlike slaves that could not break free of the wealthy plantation owners bonds, members now have the ability to demand their equitable share and if they are not given it they can leave without retribution.

    It is time that members demand to be equitably rewarded (in the form of money) for the revenue and value that they generate.The 25 million Face Book members as a group should demanded to become stock holders and to be given a part of the revenue that they generate from advertisement clicks as well as a portion of the revenue that is generated from partnership deals based on their action and their numbers . If the members do make this demand and they are not rewarded in an equitable manner they should leave Face Book and any other site that will not reward equitably for the value and revenue that they generate.

    From Wikipedia

    “Sharecropping typically involves a relatively richer owner of the land and a poorer agricultural worker or farmer; although the reverse relationship, in which a poor landlord leases out to a rich tenant[2] also exists. The typical form of sharecropping is generally seen as exploitative, particularly with large holdings of land where there is evident disparity of wealth between the parties.[attribution needed] It can have more than a passing similarity to serfdom or indenture, and it has therefore been seen as an issue of land reform in contexts such as the Mexican Revolution. (Sharecropping is distinguished from serfdom in that sharecroppers have freedom in their private lives and, at least in theory, freedom to leave the land; and distinguished from indenture in sharecroppers[][]entitlement to a share of production and, at least in theory, freedom to delegate the work to others.) Sharecropping is often described as a never ending cycle of debt.

    Sharecropping agreements can however be made fairly,[attribution needed] as a form of tenant farming or sharefarming that has a variable rental payment, paid in arrears. There are three different types of contracts.

    1. Workers can rent plots of land from the owner for a certain sum and keep the whole crop.
    2. Workers work on the land and earn a fixed wage from the land owner but keep none of the crop.
    3. Workers can neither work for nor get paid from the land owner, so the worker and land owner each keep a share of the crop.

    There are three different types of tenant farming. According to A. Alkalimat, renters who were to hire land for a fixed rental to be paid either in cash or its equivalent in crop values; share tenants, who furnish their own farm equipment and work animals and obtain use of land by agreeing to pay a fixed percent of the cash crop which they raise; share-croppers who have to have furnished to them not only the land but also farm tools and animals, fertilizer, and often even their own food, which they had to pay back with a larger percentage than shared tenants. Tenant farming was a way in which to keep African Americans and other poor groups under control but make them feel like they had some importance. Though many blacks participated in tenant farming they still were looked at and labeled as the lower class.

    Because of the high rate of illiteracy among blacks at the time, they were often taken advantage of. Poor, illiterate and intimidated by post Civil War violence, many former slaves agreed to sharecropping contracts that were designed to keep them poor [PBS]. Eventually this exploitation led to violence. Courts would usually rule in favor of landowners when these incidents were brought to court.

  • Dean Collins May 25, 2007, 6:55 am

    Lol – William – you're a pompous jerk. What social networking platform did you create last year that now has 25 million users?

    Were you there buying the first few Facebook servers? Have you picked up the tab for their last electricity bill?

    The return you are getting from Facebook is the ‘rights’ to use their servers – don’t thing that’s a fair trade then fine don’t use their applications and go build you own. Somehow I think you are nothing but air and wont deliver squat.

    Dean http://www.collins.net.pr/blog

  • Marshall Kirkpatrick May 25, 2007, 7:23 am

    Thanks for putting our SplashCast app in your profile and blogging about it Alec! I've been reading here for awhile and that makes me pretty darned proud! Hope you like it!

  • engtech @ internet d May 25, 2007, 8:23 am

    This is such a killer move. People have been spending time on profile aggregators but they'll all be replaced by Facebook. Why create a casual blog no one reads when all of your friends would read your Facebook notes?

    This is going to change the landscape.

    otoh, is the internet moving from a diverse network into a bunch of data silos?

    I've heard one person call Facebook the new AOL.

  • Paul Sweeney May 26, 2007, 1:57 am

    Great postings on this subject. I think this is a big jump for facebook, and it does seem "edgy". It reminds me of the thinking Umair Hague has had on this subject over at bubblegeneration.com. And I've been impressed with Marshall's work at Splashcast.

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