Thursday, August 16, 2007

All Your Faces Are Belong To Us

I'm not sure why it is so successful, but it would be petulant to deny that Facebook continues to carry all before it. My epiphany came chatting in the changing room after Thai boxing; someone mentioned the system, and it became clear that every person there was already on it. Such ubiquity is an extraordinary achievement.

I set up a group for the Jackapong camp the day before yesterday, and invited Johnny the instructor to join it so that I could promote him to an administrator, only to find that before he did this nearly a dozen people had already found it and joined without - so far as I can tell - being invited. Again, this is totally amazing to me.

Even though I have a temperamental aversion to walled gardens like Facebook (and indeed mySpace before it), you can't fight achievement on this scale, so I want to start collating some thoughts, even though they may turn out to be wrong headed.

For now we see through a glass, darkly.
First off the bat, for all of Marc Andreesson's boosterism, nobody seems to have achieved anything much with the Facebook Platform. All the third party apps I have seen within Facebook are relentlessly trivial.

I think that that we could do (and that it would be better to do) interesting things using Facebook as a data storage engine to power external applications via the supported API and FQL (Facebook Query Language), but - though the profit burglar has got some concept proving code running for our use - again, I haven't see any interesting examples out in the world.

That said, the Facebook crew themselves are now supporting RSS feeds for notifications and friends' posts that enable me to remain in touch with the system from outside via my trusty aggregator, so in all fairness they are moving in the direction of providing data to external apps.

You can set Facebook's Notes feature automatically to import an external blog, and I have done that with these scribblings.

Further you can make badges with live Facebook data to publish elsewhere on the Net (see

Nick Browne's Facebook profile
(Welcome also to Chris and Kim Howell who have bowled up on the system over the last couple of days.)


Linus Kendall said...


Nice reading your post. Amazing how overmpowering facebook has become - I'm finding literally everyone from everywhere on Facebook - I even notice that networks (like Brazilians) that were previously dominated by other social networks are starting to migrate.

I agree with you that most facebook apps are pointless! That was one of the reasons why me and the others at Rebtel developed an app with an actual function - Reb me. It's basically an application that allows you to create local phone numbers for any of your international friends on facebook.


chris said...

cheers dude
harry pooper