…And much, much, MUCH more… basically at this point I can pull pretty much anything in and display it on my Facebook profile page – and also have it in my “Newsfeed” that I can see and monitor on my home page.
Ah, but wait, if you aren’t a Facebook user, you couldn’t see it, could you? No, you have to login first in order to see any of that content. Only once inside the Facebook walls can you see it all. Naturally you could go to any of those services individually and see the information from a standard web browser, but if you want it all aggregated and displayed along with other content, you have to login and become part of the portal.
On one level, I definitely appreciate what Facebook is doing. They are succeeding as a portal where things like Yahoo!’s personalized pages or Google’s iGoogle or <pick your portal play> have not… in part because of the API that let’s so many users in, in part because of the “social networking” elements of the site, in part because of the “News Feed” that let’s you see what your friends are doing and contributes to the viral flow of information. There’s a really nice aggregation of various social services going on. Source: Disruptive Conversations: Facebook and the giant sucking sound of all your content coming in… and never leaving… forever… (and Facebook can do whatever it wants with it!)
Jeremiah Owyang, among others, are saying similar things (Dan, IMHO, is doing the more thorough job I’ve read recently):
Facebook is a closed garden with one way doors. Data in, but no data out. With so many companies, startups, ecommerce companies building widgets for this platform did anyone stop to consider that they?re not letting data flow out? Matt Dickensen agrees, watch his video. Here?s what we should be concerned about…. Jeremiah Owyang–All your widgets are belong to Facebook
I’m not saying that Facebook is evil, and neither is Dan or Jeremiah (at least not yet), what we’re noting is that while Facebook is cool and great for connecting people together, they are bucking the trend of sharing information. It’s a club. If you don’t join up, then you can’t even look in from the sidelines.
As Facebook ads more “business” features, say more news widgets, maybe something like a daily paper … more people will flock to it, and regardless of how poorly their ads are performing, their value to marketers and others will increase. The question you have to ask yourself is how much data or your life do you want to put into Facebook? I go there, probably once or twice a day, but I could live without it (though I did make an awesome business connection through it today). Others live on Facebook. Everywhere I go where people are using their computers chances are that Facebook will appear on one of them at some point.
Nothing is free. There is a cost to Facebook. The cost is that your activities there are stuck there. That Facebook owns the content you create there, and that you are for sale to advertisers there. That’s the price of connection.