Friday, May 25, 2007

Why Facebook and not blogs?

Kent Newsome asks the question:

"What is so much better about Facebook (and MySpace and other similar platforms) than an ordinary blog on a popular platform- say WordPress?"


I joined Facebook a little over a month ago - and while it does have it's uses, it in no way would serve as a replacement for this blog (or blogging in general). To me it's a completely different animal.

Facebook has put me in contact with two or three old friends (an old friend with whom I'd lost touch, one French teacher from high school and a former university house-mate of mine). The rest are people I already know and interact with. But that's really the extent of it for me. It's not a place I visit to learn anything new other than whether or not Joe OldFriend has kids or not or some other personal info people are willing to share.

But that's just it. It's all personal. It's all relatively closed. It's only as open as people are willing to make it. I don't login often. Maybe because I'm not a social butterfly by nature. Maybe because it's just been a series of 'hey long time no see, what ya up to' type private messages.

Sure, there are people who cross connect, join groups and share pictures and interests. If that's what you're looking for then it serves that purpose too.

Blogging on the other hand is much more expansive. And a lot more work too. But you're opening yourself up to discovering many more new things and people (and being discovered by a much wider range of people too). It's a completely different thing. If your into learning about new things, expanding your horizons and really participating in a global conversation then Facebook is not the place to do it. Granted it's not meant to be, and frankly I get the impression that the vast majority of people there are not that lofty in their ambitions anyway - which is perfectly fine too.

Of course there are the more subjective aspects. Facebook is very constrained design-wise and not at all pretty. It's a big step up from MySpace, but my home page seems like a sea of user names, widget headings and a big fat annoying ad on the left side, all drowning in a sea of too-tiny text. I imagine you can play with it, but every Facebook page I've seen is the same. It's just too constrained for my tastes.

It's also a closed system. So there is absolutely nothing that advances the cause of the most underappreciated internet technology - RSS. I don't think Google can crawl Facebook and for some people that might be a good thing - if they even care. Maybe it's only people who understand the value of a feed aggregator that will care about that anyway.

It still reminds me of Classmates.com. It hasn't added any value to my life other than reconnecting me with a few long lost friends. But a quick google search of my name could have done it a lot quicker. But alas, not everyone has a web presence and this might be the way in for the 'great unwashed'. If only it wasn't so closed. Maybe a buyout might go some way to solving this.

What is telling for me is that for each person I reconnected with, I always ended up telling them it was better to check out my family blog or this blog if they really wanted to see what I was up to. I've been really using it as a way to climb in there and say - 'come out here and see what you're really missing'.

Make no mistake, not everyone is cut out for blogging. Not everyone wants to write more than a few misspelled lines in a comment on someone's 'wall'. Not everyone cares about well designed pages, trackbacks or RSS. Maybe Twitter/Jaiku/Tumblr addresses all that.

To me, blogging is so open-ended and has so much potential in so many ways and Facebook has none.

I think the winds of change are always blowing too. There's been Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and now maybe Virb or something else. Maybe it's good you don't put a lot of hard fought effort into your content on Facebook. You likely won't be able to move it when you transition to the 'next big thing'.

There's some food for thought Kent. :)

2 comments:

darmik said...

It’s time for Face Book to Pay Up.

The End of the Plantation system.

I would like to help a bit in bringing about a new era on the Internet. We can call it web 3.0, or 2.5. I will leave the definition to others that are better at this kind of thing.

This will be the era of a true revolution in the power of site members. An era where members have the power and the ability to be rewarded monetarily for the value that they add and the revenues that are generated from their work and participation.

The recent announcements by Face Book that they are going to be the next OS, or the next platform, or the next goggle, reeks of egotism and self indulgence as well as a master slave mentality. In the bravado of the announcements that spewed forth from the reality distorted world of Face Book what was left out was the untold fact that Face Book would have little or no value if it were not for it’s 25 million members.

The hard fact and truth of the matter is that Face Book makes hundreds of millions of dollars off of the backs of its 25 million members and has no plans to share the true wealth (money) of the revenue they generate with them.

Does Mr.Zuckerberg or anyone at Face Book believe that they add more value to Face Book than the 25 million members ?

If the answer is no then the revenue generated and the value added to Face Book should be shared monetarily with the members that have have generated the revenue and added the value. Without the members Face Book would have little or no Value.

We now live in a technical age where a close to approximate monetary value can be assigned to the value and revenue that Facebook members add to the company. This fact can no longer be hidden, it can be found and it should be known by all of the members that generate the wealth and revenue.

Why cant we see a graph on Face Book that discloses to the members the amount of revenue that is generated from them in terms of revenue generating partnership deals and advertising ?

Why cant Facebook give an equitable portion of its ad revenue directly to its 25 million members ?

Of the revenue that Face Book generates, as a percentage how much is given back to its 25 million members in a monetary form ?

The advertising revenue that is generated by Face Book come from the actions of the 25 Million members, not the Face Book staff, so the members should receive the lions share of the revenue

How much stock in the company do the 25 million members that generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Face Book own. Because the 25 million members generate most if not all of the revenue and value for Face Book, shouldn’t they all be stock owners ?

As a group the 25 million members add value to the company and generate revenue, as a group they should own stock in proportion to the vaue that the add and the revenue that they generate.

How much is Microsoft paying Face book for the rights to serve ads to Face Book members? Since the value of the ad deal is probably based on the amount of members that face books has, it would make sense that the members should be given a share of the money that Microsoft has paid to Face Book for the rights to serve the ads. Mr Zuckerberg and the rest of the Face Book team should give the 25 million members the money they deserve for the value that they add to Face Book.

If yahoo would have acquired face book for one billion dollar, would any of this money be given to the 25 million members that have given Face Book the one billion dollar valuation ?

For a one billion dollar acquisition that is by and large based on membership size as well as advertising revenue generated by the members; it seems that giving each of the 25 million members 1 million dollars would be an almost equatable reward for their participation.

There is little difference between how Face Book treats its members and the share cropping schemes that were used to generate wealth for rich land owners on the backs of poor people and slaves. At least in the old share cropping schemes the works received a small portion of revenue, in the current situation members receive none of the revenue from the content that they create. Face Book and other sites that do not share the revenue and wealth that members create for them do not understand that the times have changed and the plantation game will no longer work. Now members have the ability to leave the plantation and to either create their own communities or to become members of communities that will pay them an equitable portion of the revenue and value that they create. This is one of the key revolutions of technology. There are no barriers to owning the means of production. Members are the means of productions, and are the value add. The pyramid that had members who are content creators and add value on the bottom has now been turned upside down. Unlike slaves that could not break free of the wealthy plantation owners bonds, members now have the ability to demand their equitable share and if they are not given it they can leave without retribution.

It is time that members demand to be equitably rewarded (in the form of money) for the revenue and value that they generate.The 25 million Face Book members as a group should demanded to become stock holders and to be given a part of the revenue that they generate from advertisement clicks as well as a portion of the revenue that is generated from partnership deals based on their action and their numbers . If the members do make this demand and they are not rewarded in an equitable manner they should leave Face Book and any other site that will not reward equitably for the value and revenue that they generate.

From Wikipedia

“Sharecropping typically involves a relatively richer owner of the land and a poorer agricultural worker or farmer; although the reverse relationship, in which a poor landlord leases out to a rich tenant[2] also exists. The typical form of sharecropping is generally seen as exploitative, particularly with large holdings of land where there is evident disparity of wealth between the parties.[attribution needed] It can have more than a passing similarity to serfdom or indenture, and it has therefore been seen as an issue of land reform in contexts such as the Mexican Revolution. (Sharecropping is distinguished from serfdom in that sharecroppers have freedom in their private lives and, at least in theory, freedom to leave the land; and distinguished from indenture in sharecroppers[][]entitlement to a share of production and, at least in theory, freedom to delegate the work to others.) Sharecropping is often described as a never ending cycle of debt.

Sharecropping agreements can however be made fairly,[attribution needed] as a form of tenant farming or sharefarming that has a variable rental payment, paid in arrears. There are three different types of contracts.

1. Workers can rent plots of land from the owner for a certain sum and keep the whole crop.
2. Workers work on the land and earn a fixed wage from the land owner but keep none of the crop.
3. Workers can neither work for nor get paid from the land owner, so the worker and land owner each keep a share of the crop.

There are three different types of tenant farming. According to A. Alkalimat, renters who were to hire land for a fixed rental to be paid either in cash or its equivalent in crop values; share tenants, who furnish their own farm equipment and work animals and obtain use of land by agreeing to pay a fixed percent of the cash crop which they raise; share-croppers who have to have furnished to them not only the land but also farm tools and animals, fertilizer, and often even their own food, which they had to pay back with a larger percentage than shared tenants. Tenant farming was a way in which to keep African Americans and other poor groups under control but make them feel like they had some importance. Though many blacks participated in tenant farming they still were looked at and labeled as the lower class.

Because of the high rate of illiteracy among blacks at the time, they were often taken advantage of. Poor, illiterate and intimidated by post Civil War violence, many former slaves agreed to sharecropping contracts that were designed to keep them poor [PBS]. Eventually this exploitation led to violence. Courts would usually rule in favor of landowners when these incidents were brought to court.

Jay said...

Hi Richard. I've written a post that answers some of the points both you and Darmik have brought up. You're absolutely right about Blogging and Facebooking being different things. But that doesn't mean Facebook isn't good for anything, or that it doesn't have potential.

"What's the difference between a social network and blogs or a blogging service? One is for your friends, the other is for your audience. [...] From the best bloggers, it's an in-depth, high-quality, frequent experience. [...] Social networking, on the other hand, is all about connecting with people you know or want to get to know. It's a casual, no-pressure, as-you-can experience. [...]"

I hope you'll take the time to read the full post, and I hope you find it useful.

Best,
Jay Neely, Social Strategist