September 19, 2006

Facebook’s Strategy

Posted in Random Oddments, Technology at 11:51 am by Calico Jack

First of all, apologies for the dead zone over the past week or two. It’s amazing how unimportant certain things (like blogging) become when life gets in the way. Now on to the post…

Last week came the news that Facebook was planning to allow open registration based on geographic locations. No longer will Facebook adhere to an increasingly transparent facade of exclusivity. With potentially millions of new users flooding the site, and without such features as a music player and video, Facebook needs to find a way to gain some appeal to new users.

Today, Facebook introduced a new feature (again!) called “The Facebook Friend Game.” In their words:

The game is very simple – a trivia question, five friends to choose from, one correct answer, and the clock is ticking. As always, this maps to your privacy settings, and since only your friends are involved, the actual content is protected by your Limited Profile privacy settings. If you uncheck ‘Personal Info,’ the friends on your Limited Profile list will never see you in the game.

There is no score kept, and you aren’t competing against anyone else. The questions follow a general pattern along the lines of “Which of your friends listed ‘There are two absolutes in life: friends and vodka!’ as one of his or her favorite quotes?” Trivia is drawn from profiles, and it’s surprising to see how wacky some of the information is.

I might be easy to dismiss this new feature as a minor footnote in Facebook’s history. But it’s important to realize that this is an additional way for users to spend more time browsing the site — as if they needed another reason. Over the past several months, Facebook has taken several steps towards openly competing with MySpace; and anything that encourages people to spend more time on their site is less time spent elsewhere.

I wouldn’t be surprised to eventually see video uploads and a Flash music player be added to Facebook profiles. It seems that the Powers That Be are trying desperately to take a big chunk out of the dominance of MySpace. There’s a feeling of general unrest in the air among a lot of users, however; and if Facebook ends up becoming a prettier version of MySpace, I suspect that many college students who made this site so popular will leave. What’s been done before can be done again — only better.

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1 Comment »

  1. Jessie said,

    Facebook is starting to get ridiculous. It started out for college students, it should stay that way. They don’t need to compete with xanga or myspace. They had something unique going, and that’s why I joined. If they add much more I will seriously consider removing myself from the “facebook cult.”


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