The Open Facebook
I've had a Facebook profile since early last year, but I don't use it very much. That's slowly changing as my network grows and there is more stuff I can do there. I am hopeful that I'll be using it a lot more soon because Facebook is now an open platform. I spent about a half hour this morning adding some of my favorite apps to Facebook and now I have Twitter, last.fm, and MOG on my profile.
I had a few more, including iLike (which is apparently the most popular new application on Facebook right now). But I took iLike off my profile because it didn't do anything for me. I couldn't see the songs I've been listening to, my friends, or any of the things on iLike that I find useful.
I got last.fm on my profile thanks to my friend Jeff Jarvis' son Jake who built a last.fm application for Facebook. I found out about that on Techcrunch last night. Now this totally rocks because it shows how open this whole open Facebook ecosystem is. A young guy (I think Jake's the same age as my daughter Jessica) who has nothing to do with Facebook and last.fm other than being a user of these two services built a last.fm widget that I can use for my Facebook profile. Thanks Jake!!
Take a look at the middle part of my Facebook profile:
You are starting to see hints of this blog emerging on my Facebook profile. There are my most recent posts showing up as notes. You can see my Twitter message, and two cool music widgets, last.fm and MOG. Interestingly, MOG and last.fm disagree about what I've been listening to most recently. I gotta figure out why.
I've got two thoughts on this whole thing.
The first is I like the way Facebook has chosen to open up. It's more like the way Firefox allows extensions and less like the way MySpace and others allow embedded code. I've got nothing against the MySpace approach. That's what I use on my blog as well and embed code has moved the web forward in amazing fashion. But an open API is possibly going to be more powerful for some apps than embed code. It will be interesting to watch how this all plays out, but I am betting Facebook's gonna get some really cool apps very quickly with this approach.
The second is that I don't yet see my social network at Facebook interacting much in these applications. Maybe I've chosen the wrong ones to install. My Facebok social net will be notified via the mini-feed that I've added these apps to my profile, but beyond that what happens?
Why can't Twitter be more tightly integrated? Why can't it power my status message so that all my friends on Facbook see when I change my status via Twitter.
Why can't my Facebook friends engage with my last.fm and MOG widgets? Why can't they favorite the songs they like and message me in Facebook about that?
I am sure that's coming. Maybe some of the other Facebook apps already do stuff like that.
There's a chance that someday, Facebook will be the preferred place to read this blog because of all the social apps that will be built around it. You can already read this blog at Facebook but few people, if any, do that currently.
Mark Zuckerberg says he wants Facebook to be the social operating system of the web. That's a grand ambition. But I like it. Because its something Google isn't and is never going to be (unless they buy Facebook). At this point, nobody is closer to that vision than Facebook and by opening the system up this past week, Mark has taken a big step forward and is moving closer to that vision for sure. Well done.