Monday, 26 April 2010

The end of web destinations - Facebook Open Graph slideshare deck

It doesn't seem too much of an overstatement to suggest that Facebook's Open Graph protocols have created a new OS for the internet: one that is based more on how people interact with each other than on how they relate to entertainment content. There are obviously huge issues around several of the announcements from f8 last week, centering on three subjects

Privacy (Marshall Kirkpatrick on ReadWriteWeb)
Advertising value (The Ad Contrarian on Facebook's Nielsen partnership)
(and linked to that...)
Whether Facebook can match the attention that they are gathering with a similar level of profit (Henry Blodget in Business Insider)

All three are well worth a read if you are interested in Open Graph. And if you work with brands and the internet, you are interested in Open Graph aren't you? Personally I think that Facebook has created a product with incredible potential, that will increase its revenue (although not yet up to Google level; they need another killer app for that, which i think they'll find next year) and make people's experience on the internet better. Privacy is increasingly something people are willing to trade for better. Ethically I think we're getting a bit hysterical about things, mainly because Facebook have a slightly dubious record in privacy isues, but also because they are starting to close in on Google, who are genuinely ethical in a way that few bigh corporations can be. Let's face it, they are a business who have improved what they do in order to be more profitable.
Anyway, I've been thinking a bit about how Open Graph changes things. To be honest, the stuff in the deck was all possible with Facebook Connect if it was used in full, but very few brands were doing that. I'm not a developer so I don't know how difficult it was to implement, but by all accounts Open Graph is a whole lot easier. I'm going to follow this up once there are more distributed nodes in the graph (ie more people liking more content and more sites implementing personalised social features) and look more at the content side of the protocol.

For now this is all about how the APIs are starting to become an alternative to the web destinations of old. In order to take full advantage of all the combined benefits of the networks available to a brand, we need to start thinking about whether people have a temporary high interest in the brand, or a permanent loose interest.
Then about how we move them around according to their needs and attention. And if we are going to require them to move around, how we are going to inspire them to participate. Ironically considering Facebook's change in terminology, we need to think about how we make them a fan (in the real sense of the word- not just saying they like something on a social network).

It's very early days for Open Graph, so I'd really welcome your thoughts on this deck in the comments or on Twitter


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