Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How Facebook Forgot About Web 2.0

If I gave you the acronym "WWF" what would you think it stood for?

If I gave you the acronym "WWW" and you figured it out and the same first two letters were exactly the same as in the first example, what would your guess be then?

Yes, that is right, the World Wide Facebook. All content can be seen by anybody else, but they have to be your friend first, which means they need to find you or you need to find them... And you can create FAN pages and GROUP pages that anyone can become a fan of or join, unless they don't have a Facebook account in which case they need to join Facebook in order to, well, I think you get it...

So step back, let's think about this. We went from a world where static information on the Internet became dynamic information. It became sortable, sharable and down right convenient. The RSS phenomenon meant any content could become ubiquitous - accessible anytime, anywhere, by anyone... No credentials, no creating a profile, no establishment of yet another channel that had to be managed. This was Web 2.0. As you note from this post's title, I think Facebook missed that page in the Internet's history.

Now I am completely sold on the value of Facebook as a tool to manage personal relationships, but where I find Facebook lacking is in its endeavour to become a B2C and B2B channel friendly resource. Again, try "fan"-ing a Fan page in Facebook and while you can read the front page, you are "blocked" from becoming an actual Fan or browsing through additional content.

Now go to YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Wikipedia and see if you have trouble accessing content... No? That is the entire point! Hello, McFly, Hello!!!!

Why is that such a sensitive issue for us here at SideStreet? Well, again, Web 2.0 was a movement all about information access. Facebook has developed barriers. So just create a free profile, log in and there is no barrier you say? Well, in one direction yes, but Web 2.0 was about creating a flow of information that was multi-directional - left, right, up, down, northest, southwest, z-axis, etc.

True social media should be portable. We believe this is a fundamental tenet from the era of Web 2.0, particularly when enabling businesses. So while, yes, I can get in to view Facebook content by joining Facebook, I can't view Facebook content outside of Facebook, and this is where our gripe truly lies.

The posting or "wall" of Facebook is a perfect kernel of information to shoehorn into a business's web site or blog to get an "inside" look at what social dynamic is occuring. We can pull a Twitter feed, a YouTube channel feed, every blog has an RSS feed, even Flickr figured it out by adapting their slideshow technology to any browser window, but Facebook????

So I will end this long-winded whine (yes, I have the "whine" flu) with a plea to Facebook to get with the game. All it will do is shove the Facebook brand and the unique content in front of more eyes which will bring in more users which will bring in more revenue which will, at the end of Web 4.0, most likely displace the WWW with the WWF.

For an example of the argument above, follow this link and click on Kansas or Virginia to see Facebook content (and compare that to the other sources of content):