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Social Software: seduced by Facebook


A recent blog post by Tom Smith, The social software confidence trick and Facebook gave me impetus to comment on my recent experiences with the social software tool.

Ever since MySpace, who were one of the first biggest public social networking sites, I had tried my hardest not to subscribe and be subsumed into the culture of building yet another online presence. Then I was invited to Bebo by a few friends, which instantly becomes that little bit more seductive and much harder to ignore. One the of best features is the ability to send messages with a little doodle sketch pad - nice. Already, Bebo was offering something that was new, something that email programs 15 years on, don't do.

Cracker Sailors Unite group in Facebook

Facebook has already achieved much of what has gone before (sadly there isn't a sketch pad built into messaging yet!) and does the joining-up of people incredibly well. It's actually quite addictive. Why is that? Something Facebook does better than anything else I've seen, is allow you to take complete ownership of what you are building, and I don't just mean your "profile" page. You can build your own social networking groups and other people can search for them and join them. There are quite creative groups out there. Even as a member of a group, you can contribute openly with other members - the permissions model is almost hidden, I don't hit areas that I'm barred to enter, simply because they aren't immediately obvious where those places are. I haven't played much with Facebook applications, other than the photo sharing tools, but it's clear, the creators of Facebook have intentions of plugging in a whole host of joined-up tools.

Tom asks "Is Facebook the last mashup?"

I'm pretty confident it isn't and other tools will come and supersede what has already been achieved. However, you might say that Facebook has led the way on creating a user experience much more seductive and delightful than anything else currently available.

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