I would define the peak of the web 2.0 from early 2000’s – blooming of the blogosphere and the first Friendster-like social networks – to 2008 – up until the iPhone broke in. In 2007, the debate was Facebook vs Myspace, the private (Facebook was walled down then) vs the public approach. While 10 years later it became cristal-clear who won the match, it’s still a good thing to look back and analyze what happened.
Historically, you could say that Myspace opened up the door for Facebook to explode. Myspace made social networks international, vibrant, and a great marketing tool for engaged online communities. The myspace.com/… URL was the first among its peers to walk in the world of traditional ads. Myspace was everything that Facebook became, without the cutting-edge technology. Both companies got financial traction through private investments, but Facebook had the right business ties, and its leader maintained a straight-forward vision that kept the boat afloat. Myspace got unsavvy Murdoch money and our friend Tom did not show clear signs of business leadership, which led to market failure.
That brings me to the topic of leadership in social-oriented technologies. On one end, we had Tom, founder of Myspace :
When you created your account on Myspace, Tom was automatically assigned as your first friend. And everybody was keeping him as a friend, which obviously made him the most popular guy on the site. On Facebook, you were invited to 1.Use your real name, and 2. Connect only with people you know (so no Mark was assigned as your first friend). Tom was some sort of democratic president, not elected by vote, but accepted, legitimized by his popularity.
When you think about it, Tom is the kind of leader we say we want : a like-us, close-to-us person that we can have a beer with, and a leader that doesn’t value business over its network’s social values. Exactly the opposite of the leader of Facebook. Tom failed. And Facebook, with its autocratic approach to social development, became a Big 3. What does that tell us about managing (online) communities ?
This is interesting info: Myspace plans both-way syncing with Facebook. I’d like to see if Myspace plans to sync up with more social networks, or if they’re just butt-licking Facebook. If they plan to sync up with more social networks, Myspace could become interesting again, and maybe build the kind of solution Friendfeed was working on before being gulped down by Facebook. I don’t know if the users will care, but as a SE and SM marketer, I definitely will 🙂
After having launched integrations with Twitter and other sites, MySpace has launched a new form of Facebook integration today. Now, it’s easy for MySpace users to syndicate their status updates on Facebook as well. The UI is available to users in a drop-down on MySpace’s status publisher, beneath the Twitter syndication feature that MySpace introduced last year.
I recently started to re-focus my attention on the marketing potential of Facebook, and created a Fan Page for my blog to experiment with the features of a Page. What stroke me right away is that using your RSS feed to update your Facebook Page is not that easy to do. There are probably a dozen ways to do this, but here is the one way I adopted, and I can’t complain about it:
First you will need to create a profile for your blog on NetworkedBlogs. NetworkedBlogs is THE application to hook your blog to Facebook and have access to cool features. I actually created the HyveUp’s profile on NetworkedBlogs quite a while ago when the application was still called Blog Networks.
One of the new nifty features of NetworkedBlogs is the automatic blog-to-Page functionality:
Once you click on the “Pages” link on the top right, it will take you to a page where, out of the list of the blogs you follow on NetworkedBlogs, you will check your blog in the column ‘Publish to wall and show on tab’.
Once you did that, make sure to scroll down the page (if you have a long list of blogs you are following), grant permission to the NetworkedBlogs application to access your page, and save.
You are now good to go. A first update on your page will appear saying something like ‘Importing blog feed using NetworkedBlogs’. Give it an hour or two, and next time you publish a blog post, it will automatically update your Facebook page!
I finally created a Facebook Page for HyveUp, and I learned two tricks I think are essential: How to auto-update a Facebook page with a blog’s RSS feed, and how to auto-post the Facebook page updates directly to Twitter. I’ll explain the RSS trick in a Screencast Pro video later, but I think I don’t need to bother explaining how the Facebook-to-Twitter automation works since it’s really easy to find and activate:
If Facebook can pick up my blog articles, and post them to Twitter, then I don’t need Twitterfeed or Friendfeed anymore. That is a funny thought because I am replacing Friendfeed with Facebook, and Facebook bought Friendfeed (for $50 millions), so I am not really leaving Friendfeed for Facebook.
Of course, I don’t use Facebook the same way I was using Friendfeed… At least that’s what I thought until Facebook started to post my blog updates… I never thought Facebook would ever be in my Web 2.0 loop of automated services, I always pictured it as a walled garden. But now I picture Facebook as able to do unexpected moves. Here is what Friendfeed had that Facebook could integrate:
- The post-to-Twitter tool (check)
- The threaded real-time conversations (probably the priority in this acquisition)
- The social networks syndication (not a word about it yet)
So is Facebook after your online social activities? Will we soon see in our Facebook dashboard what the picture below shows? I say yes!
I say yes because Facebook already shares a lot with other social networks through the Facebook Connect feature. Unfortunately for developers, there is not a way to make discussions happen simultaneously between a Website and Facebook. Every time you are doing something outside of Facebook, you have to manually share your activity on Facebook, and if someone on Facebook reacts to this activity, it won’t be posted on the original site.
If you ask me, that is exactly what the Friendfeed team was hired for: To enable simultaneous conversations across social networks, but with Facebook at the center of it all, of course!
UPDATE: Techcrunch talks about Tornado, what seems to be the first piece of the puzzle.
No more than 18 months ago, I started the HyveUp Facebook group to provide a way for the members of my community to stay in touch with me and my content. I think the last time I updated the group was about a year ago. In other words, managing a group was not a very compelling and beneficial operation.
Yesterday, I received an email from Paul Chaney, announcing that he was closing the 300-member group Conversational Media Marketing:
Earlier in Facebook’s evolution as a business communication and marketing platform, one popular option was to create a Group […] With the advent of Facebook Pages, particularly in their current iteration (and considering Facebook’s obvious move to create promotional tools around them), the heyday of Groups has passed.
Of course, Facebook designed pages to be much more viral than groups. Groups can’t take RSS feeds, and the content doesn’t spread onto members’ profiles. There are no stats on page views or video views. There are no widget to promote the group outside of Facebook’s walls. One basic but useful feature is the one that lets administrators send messages to the members of the group. It’s the only communication tool that comes with a group.
The question remains: If the group still has members, why delete it? Having your link hanging right and left is the best way to benefit from the long tail of the Web. If you have spent a consequential amount of effort creating the group, shouldn’t you just leave it here? Unlike your own site, a group is Facebook’s problem, and Facebook’s responsibility to maintain! In any case, it is official, Facebook groups are dead, and we should expect an announcement from the company’s blog pretty soon warning that all groups will be closed down. Hopefully, they will provide a tool to convert a group into a fan’s page or something.