I just started really using Facebook… well, yesterday. And as I used it, I began to understand the vision its founders have for the site. Or something. Maybe it’s the fact that I got close to 20 hours of sleep yesterday (figure that out).
But Facebook is lining up to be the next internet, the way MySpace is sort of the youth internet right now. Sure, to my younger brothers and sisters, there are neat things that happen outside of MySpace, but they’re just some neat things. The meat of everything happens in the interactions between profiles and the additions to them, the gaining of friends, the miscellanea. Sort of the way the blogosphere works for us bloggers.
But Facebook is better than MySpace because it minimizes the amount of customizing that people can do, and instead of focusing on individuality and letting everyone glitter their profile up to high heaven, it concentrates on interconnectivity. This is a good thing. The News Feed page is a really, really good thing.
For instance, all my friends and I have blogs. But reading 100 blogs a day is a pain. So we aggregate (I, for instance, use Google Reader), and the content gets pushed to us. But what if you want to comment? You can’t comment via RSS, so you have to visit the blog, which is a barrier to entry, so to speak. (I personally think aggregation reduces commenting.) What blogs lack is a unified method of communication with eachother – a framework for interaction, if you wish. HTML doesn’t provide this. There’s nothing wrong with having ten thousand different blog sites and types of blog software, but what would really help the blogosphere become more social is enabling users to see what’s going on the way social networking sites do. Or the way Facebook does really, really well.
This is, of course, rather tangential to my main point. But what if Facebook expanded its reach just a little? It’s already got a note-creation mechanism that a lot of people use as a type of blogging space; what if Facebook allowed me to set up an incoming RSS feed that copies content from my main blog as it is updated? That would be neat. It could circumvent the blog integration problem altogether. Friends would get updates in their News Feeds, and could comment from there. Sure, it would create an abstracted layer of comments, but I’m not sure Facebook users would care that much.
It’s just an idea. In any case, I have to take a shower and go to church. Or as my crazy sister and her husband would say, I have to take a shower so I can have the privilege of going to church. And I would add, smelling less like roadkill than I do now.