In the past few months, Facebook has been attracting a plethora of new users, including people who vowed never to jump on that bandwagon. I guess that most people cave into peer pressure after all.
Especially online. Especially when it connects the older generations to the younger generations (like parents to their children and grandparents to their grandchildren). I can’t wait until my grandma signs up for Facebook. Her picture is already posted on it.
A lot of people among me have been overwhelmed by the recent changes at Facebook. On May 24, Facebook launched the F8 Facebook Developer Platform, allowing third-party application developers to integrate new applications and tools into their Facebook account.
For awhile, I feared that this would be MySpace. But as I saw the opportunities, this is hardly a MySpace at all. Facebook still has the clean look, but you can spruce it up a bit and personalize it even further.
And while people are posting preliminary results of their first impressions of Facebook applications, here is what’s driving me to Facebook:
- iLike: I’m a fan of music. While iLike’s basic capabilities allow me to share my favorite songs with my Facebook friends, the appeal of iLike the iLike Challenge, a music competition that can be likened to “Name that Tune” or “Name that Artist [of that Tune].” It’s addictive. Until SMX last week, I had been playing for awhile and stopped at a notorious 6,666 points. I should probably do something about that.
- Twitter: It’s fairly obvious that I like Twitter. I used it a lot more often when I had fewer followers, because the current volume is a bit intimidating. Now that it has hit Facebook, the Twits are everywhere. But no matter. Twitter is the one application that adds a bit of color to my very white profile, and it’s still fun to inform other people what I’m up to. In fact, I’ll probably blog an update to the many uses of Twitter in the near future.
- Digg: Ah yes, Digg. Digg and I have a love-hate relationship. Today, I’m not sure what I think about Digg, but I recently answered a poll sent to me by my BFF, the Lisa, where the last question was “Do you read the Sunday paper?” My answer: “No. I read Digg. Stuff gets there faster.” Yes, a few months ago, when I wasn’t using Digg as much, I used to get mad at my husband for not telling me news (I’d eventually find out in the few magazines I read — days/weeks after the news broke). Now, Brian sends me links or tells me about recent news and I roll my eyes at him: “I already knew that, thanks to Digg!” And so, I actually do keep up with latest happenings via Digg.
- del.icio.us: This is where I bookmark the stories I generally don’t see on Digg. You’ll find more timeless references on my list. The best part about this app is really its developer. Steven Bao is a 15-year-old high school freshman. Nevertheless, he built this application — beating several other contenders — in F8’s first week.
- Favorite Peeps!: This application lets you profile your friends and give them certain names and titles. For example, you can title your friends as your heroes or inspirations. This is much like “free gift” — a way to promote your friends without actually purchasing gifts (though those are cool too). The application itself is pretty viral, boasting 899,636 users (as of this writing) and counting. It also, unlike the other aforementioned applications which have related websites, happens to be built from scratch for the Facebook platform only.
So while the Facebook application pool is growing and growing, it’s amazing to see the potential for Facebook’s viral spread to continue. Application developers can now take advantage of a platform that makes it easy for them to port an existing application into the service or to create a brand new, yet extremely viable, application. From a recent interview with Ali Partovi, chief executive of iLike:
As to wisdom with respect to Facebook, what I’d say is that anybody who is currently involved in building a consumer-facing website should be thinking about whether they should be building a Facebook app instead.
Or in addition to that website, I’d say.
Brand awareness has just gotten a lot easier for a lot of people, because Facebook is a viral platform that makes it happen.