Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's All About You

I've been doing some thinking about the Facebook-FriendFeed acquisition, and I think just about everyone has missed the point. The tech press has been going ga-ga over the news of the $50 million acqui, announced last Monday and quickly picked up on Twitter, FriendFeed and across the blogosphere. We're seeing a slew of opinion pieces pop up in daily newspapers, tech rags, and just about everywhere else. Probably not surprising since August is a slow news month, but really, it's starting to get ridiculous.

Commentators--perhaps in an effort to outhype one another--are getting more and more het up about what this could all mean. Some say the deal is Facebook's bid to become a kind of killer app--the platform that replaces Google as most people's home page. Others take it to an even greater extreme, as for example this Washington Post contributor whose view is that this is Facebook's way of taking over the ENTIRE SOCIAL WEB (cue eerie music...).

Here's what I think is missing from the discussion. We can wear ourselves out wondering whether Facebook is going to become our de facto site of choice (which I very much doubt it will). But more interesting to me is what it says about how central social media is becoming to our working and personal lives--not to mention breaking down the barriers between the two.

What Facebook is attempting to do, I think, is to incorporate functionality that will feed our growing fascination with the social web. This seems like a good thing. Certainly, for those who enjoy social networking for its purely social elements, it could be a nice way to bring more cool stuff under one roof. Beyond that, I think it could be a positive boon for those of us who recognize its potential for creating a far richer and more rewarding work and business life for ourselves.

And now for some perspective. Mashable reported last March that social networking is now more popular than email as an online activity. In fact, it's been almost a year now that social networking has surpassed porn as one of the top online activities. So to me the question is, how can the enhancement of these tools help people build what branding expert Dan Schwabel has so astutely termed "Me 2.0"? And for the answers to that, I plan to sit back, relax, and enjoy the future as it arrives.

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