I have to admit that the whole MySpace/Facebook phenomena eluded me for quite a while. I looked at both of them over the last year or so, but never registered for either. Believe me, I've registered for a lot of social networking sites but these two didn't interest me. This may have been because I didn't realize how many friends were already using Facebook. Maybe I just didn't "get" it, but I never crossed the threshold of real interest.
That changed last week.
Last week Facebook announced the launch of "Facebook Platform." According to Paul Allen, who was at the launch,
Facebook is inviting anyone to develop applications for their users on top of what Mark calls their “social graph”–the core of their service which basically keeps track of real people and their real connections to each other.
What this means is that Facebook is no longer only a place for real people to keep track of each other...as understatedly powerful as that is. Facebook is becoming a hub, or perhaps, THE hub, for social networking applications.
When I registered my Facebook account and saw that I could add my Box.net account, my Twitter account, my 30Boxes account, and my Del.icio.us account to Facebook's already decent set of built in applications, I was sold. Each of these tools is tremendously powerful and when utilized together become even more powerful. Now that there is once place that can act as a hub for them all, I've drunk the kool-aid.
That's why Michael Arrington said that difference between MySpace and Facebook isn't a choice, it's an IQ test. MySpace may be larger, with 100 million users, but FaceBook has 20 million and is growing at a rate of 100,000 per day. Not only is it growing rapidly, but it's growing rapidly outside of it's original demographic, older high-school and college students. According to Allen the fastest growing segment are users over 25 and by year's end, Facebook will have 50 million users, 75 percent of whom will be out of college.
Some have commented commented that Twitter may be the new "presence," allowing all your contacts to know where and what you're doing at any given point. With the Platform, you could argue that Facebook does this quite handily.