Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Facebook - the new desktop?

Probably not, but you'll forgive me my woolly thinking as I'm still jet-lagged from my umpteen hour flight from Peru (holiday, not work).

Anyhow, Facebook's decision to let anyone develop Facebook applications has led to what seems like a billion lame ideas but one or two rather brilliant ones too (Shakespearean Insult Generator). I think that we as publishers have been slow (or too poor) to take advantage of this opportunity.There's an interesting article in the Online Journalism Review about RSS2Facebook:

RSS2facebook.com offers design, development, installation and hosting of facebook applications that take information directly from your website rss feed and enable users to install your application and display rss feed entries through their profile. Not only will this increase return rates from users with the application installed to your site, it will also spread the word to the users’ friends. As friends are normally interested in the same things this can be seen as a form of extremely cheap targeted advertising that has shown much better results than past methods.
For business publishers, the idea that "friends are normally interested in the same things" doesn't really apply except for quite sad people, but it does reinforce the idea that Facebook is very much the new desktop cum super-application - you don't need email, an RSS reader, Flickr etc - you can do it all in one place - Facebook.

Opening up to third party applications only accelerates the process and one does wonder if it will become somewhat unstoppable.

Now all we need to do is come up with that killer app.

And, by the way, here's an interesting piece on monetising apps.


markcrail said...

I have to admit I find Facebook a bit of a pain to personalise, but I would quite like to be able just to include an RSS feed of things I write for the Employment Intelligence blog. Yes, it's vanity publishing, and yes, most of the limited number of people who see it are probably not going to be that interested; but it strikes me as a reasonable way of promoting our blogs. Can't see a straightforward way of doing it at the minute. Perhaps RBI should work on a widget strategy.

Andrew Orange said...

Hi Mark - you say "vanity" as though that's a bad thing.

Actually, it's very easy to grant your wish on facebook.

I use the "notes" function - you can edit the settings to import from an RSS feed. Check out your colleague Kevin May's profile on Facebook to see his "vanity" at work.

There's also a "Blog Friends" app which does something similar but more complicated.

Andrew Orange said...

S: On the subject of writing apps for facebook there's an article here on a Stanford course which teaches you just that. The article is called "I'm majoring in Facebook, how about you?"