Facebook – the future?

Posted on November 23, 2009

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The next big thing?

Keep an eye on Facebook – that was the message hailed by the BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones when he came to speak to us down at the Cardiff journo hub. 

A man who used to be a business journalist, Rory admits himself that he lacks the geeky credentials necessary to talk about technology. What he can do, however, is get very excited about what’s coming next in technology. There’s some hope for the rest of us, then.  

I found the most interesting point, as mentioned above, his tip to keep an eye on Facebook as the leader of the social network scene. While everybody is busy going bonkers about Twitter and Delicious and all those other places designed to make our online lives that little bit more complicated easy, he said to watch out for Facebook.  

Why?  

Thinking about it, he might be onto something here. Facebook has experimented with its design over the years, from its original newsfeed where pretty much everything would show up, to a state where it was Twitter-like in its list of status updates, to its current form of a mixture of info and “X is doing something-or-other”. Though Twitter is great for eavesdropping and picking up bits of news, Facebook is still top dog for:  

  • Finding groups of people with a shared interest  
  • Chatting to friends
  • Promoting events
  • Starting petitions and protests
  • Wasting time on countless applications

…and the list goes on. Other social sites will have to do a lot of catching up to reach this level of interaction, or indeed, level of traffic.   

300 million active users. Impressive.  

The only downside is that it is still used as a basis for people who already know each other. If you get a friend invite from someone you don’t know on Facebook, you tend to think they’re a bit weird. Following or being followed by a random on Twitter isn’t just normal – it’s a tiny bit flattering. Someone wants to know what you want to say.   

So maybe getting rid of the stranger stigma will be where Facebook goes next. But with its figures going up and up, Rory might just be right. Keep a look out.  

Image taken from _Max-B‘s photostream. 

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