Facebook a platform for friends?

At the risk of contributing to the general hysteria around Facebook at the moment I’ve been thinking that Facebook could become THE PLATFORM for friends across all social apps. 

My thoughts run something like this:

  • I don’t like having to invite new friends every time I join a new social media site
  • Maintaining friends lists across multiple sites is something I never get round to
  • I have a friends list on Facebook that works for me
  • The much vaunted Facebook API could provide an easy answer to this conundrum

I couldn’t find anything on this topic as I googled the web prior to writing this post, so I don’t know if this works, but if social sites made themselves available via a plugin so I could access their functionality within Facebook life would get a lot easier. 

The principal benefits would be that I could immediately see which of my friends are already on the new site (this works already with the Tripadvisor Facebook plugin) and inviting new ones would be less of an ask if they could also see which of their friends was on already.  Even more so if automatic registration using Facebook details was possible (I haven’t seen anything that does that yet).

All of this throws up obvious questions about Facebook dependency and where the value is being built, but it gets over the big problem of all the social apps operating as silos.  There are positive sides to the story as well – the user experience for customers on what I will call the Facebook partner site would be much improved, they would increase growth with Facebook’s distribution, and if they managed to do something similar with Myspace, Bebo etc then the network effects would exist in the partner rather than in Facebook.  Reserving some functionality for the core site (i.e. not putting it in the plugin) would also be a smart move – and in practice this is probably inevitable.

This is a bit of a thought experiment, for which apologies, but the Facebook API throws up some strategy questions that I thought it would be interesting to start looking into.

Your thoughts, as ever, would be appreciated.

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  • Nic,
    Interesting question you raise. I have not seen anything quite like you mentioned. However you might want to ask the question in the Facebook Applications Group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2548175922

    Ning has allowed community publishers on their social network to make their content easily available within facebook.

    Cheers,
    Rodney Rumford
    http://www.facereviews.com

  • Nic,
    Interesting question you raise. I have not seen anything quite like you mentioned. However you might want to ask the question in the Facebook Applications Group here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2548175922

    Ning has allowed community publishers on their social network to make their content easily available within facebook.

    Cheers,
    Rodney Rumford
    http://www.facereviews.com

  • Nic:

    Your bring up a “systemic problem” that runs across the entire net and now in the mobile space. The problem is that users create their data then they can’t have access to it to seamlesly get integration across all mediums.

    The traditional concept of business as a “winner takes all” contest is giving way to a realisation that in the networked economy, companies must both co-operate and compete. Termed “co-opetition,” this new perspective requires companies to create business strategies that capitalise on relationships in order to create maximum value in the marketplace.

    “Co-opetition”– a model in which a network of stakeholders co-operate and compete to create maximum value — is one of the most important business perspectives of recent years. Internet and mobile technologies have made it even more necessary for companies to both co-operate and compete, by enabling relationships through information sharing as well as integrating and streamlining processes. In today’s networked economy, co-opetition is a powerful means of identifying new market opportunities and developing business strategy.

    I hope that in the not to distant future we see “co-opetition” across the evolving space of social networking with the aim of increasing value to end users instead of more “silo mentality. There is an organization called “The Relationship Networking Industry Association” attemtping to bring rational to the chaos, you can learn more about them at http://community.rnia.org/index.aspx

    Adam Kovitz is the executive director.

  • Nic:

    Your bring up a “systemic problem” that runs across the entire net and now in the mobile space. The problem is that users create their data then they can’t have access to it to seamlesly get integration across all mediums.

    The traditional concept of business as a “winner takes all” contest is giving way to a realisation that in the networked economy, companies must both co-operate and compete. Termed “co-opetition,” this new perspective requires companies to create business strategies that capitalise on relationships in order to create maximum value in the marketplace.

    “Co-opetition”– a model in which a network of stakeholders co-operate and compete to create maximum value — is one of the most important business perspectives of recent years. Internet and mobile technologies have made it even more necessary for companies to both co-operate and compete, by enabling relationships through information sharing as well as integrating and streamlining processes. In today’s networked economy, co-opetition is a powerful means of identifying new market opportunities and developing business strategy.

    I hope that in the not to distant future we see “co-opetition” across the evolving space of social networking with the aim of increasing value to end users instead of more “silo mentality. There is an organization called “The Relationship Networking Industry Association” attemtping to bring rational to the chaos, you can learn more about them at http://community.rnia.org/index.aspx

    Adam Kovitz is the executive director.

  • As we (http://www.tripconect.com) developed our facebook app we came across this as well and were discussing it. From our perspective, if it helps facebook members find their friends on tripconnect, then so much the better. But I wonder whether the big boys will all want to play nice.

  • As we (http://www.tripconect.com) developed our facebook app we came across this as well and were discussing it. From our perspective, if it helps facebook members find their friends on tripconnect, then so much the better. But I wonder whether the big boys will all want to play nice.