If software were food, then Facebook would be a pot of chile.
Chile cooks will tell you that the every pot is a work in progress. From the moment that you add the meat, the peppers themselves, whatever vegetables you choose (and purists will insist on none but the tomatoes!), and the various herbs, flavours can change pretty dramatically. It's the nature of chile that it tastes different from one hour to the next, and one day to another.
So it is with Facebook. In the last few days:
- The Facebook team has rolled out a number of items, rolled them back, and then rolled them out again. The new developers forums are a case in point — they were available two days ago, gone for part of yesterday, and back this morning. We've seen the same with platform elements, including one that broke our application yesterday morning for a few hours… right before an investor presentation. Facebook added the peppers, and then had to adjust the flavouring.
- The mix of people trying to use Facebook is also shifting. In the past few weeks there seems to have been a dramatic acceleration in the number of groups being created for business related networking purposes. They're moving beyond meat and tomatoes chile, to cactus pads, beans and perhaps a little corn to sweeten.
- The Facebook user community is changing dramatically as well. For instance, on Monday, a conservative and married Christian gentleman complained in one group I read that salacious dating flyers offended him. Some Facebooker's told him to take his viewpoint elsewhere, but a significant number of others sympathized. A suggestion was even made that Facebook themselves might allow individuals to opt-out of this kind of advertising. That's a good suggestion. If Facebook is to continue to grow beyond the college crowd, it will have to accomodate people of many viewpoints and sensibilities. Would you like your chile with beans, rice, corn bread or perhaps all three?
From 30 million users in June to 43 million by end of August meant dramatic changes to Facebook, but this pot of chile is still pretty young.