Why Kara Swisher is just plain wrong

The always literate and witty Kara Swisher recently said (like, yesterday): “While Facebook–with a cleaner and more strict look and a better navigation–is surely less goofy than rival MySpace for anyone over 12 years old, and its video, photo and email features are nice, the vast majority of its apps are still mostly as dumb as a box of hammers.”
Kara goes on to complain FB is a network without a purpose, that is if you consider tossing sheep and displaying BFF a waste of time, but her eloquent post, which makes the point that purposeful utilities are what matter, still manages to getFacebook’s power wrong.
What makes FB work, IMHO, is the way it manages to allow people to demonstrate connection. It is the central digital clearing house to manifest relationships (I am not going to say social graph) and the utilities offer an ever expanding set of ways to support maintaining and displaying those connections from the highly userful–news feeds, posts, roups, invites, to the silly–throwing sheep, sending drinks-to the interactive and entertaining–sharing books, playing risk or scrabble.
That digital hub–people hub if you will–is what everyone else wants to find ways to mirror and achieve and is what flickr, perhaps, could have been if the team had chosen to build in that direction (which it did not).
One way to look at all the fun FB apps is that while they offer third-party developers somewhat cheap ways to acquire audiences (value unproven), they also offer FB a means to hold users as they themselves build out the kind of integrated platform AOL was once, only on the web–with a superior set of mail, groups, bookmarking, IM and search tools, either their own or integrated from third parties in profitable business deals based on user acquisition bounties and ad revenue splits.
Yep, it is kinda AOL redux, ain’t it–only this time on the web and with something just as of its moment as AOL was back in ol‘ ‘1992.

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  1. spandana says:

    at the end of the day, aol was a walled garden of content, and so is facebook (a walled garden of people). they have to open up the poeple, rather than the site, then we are talking!

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