Friday, August 03, 2007

Facebook Widget Wars: Netvibes Strikes Back!

I have been compulsively checking my Facebook account ever since I started using Facebook. It wasn't my idea to join Facebook, so it's not my fault that I can't seem to stay away from the darned thing. So, I blame my friends.
And since I'm compulsively addicted to Facebook because of them, I'm now following the Facebook hype stories.

Facebook is to the tech world what Paris Hilton is to the tabloids. A day does not go by with at least one Facebook commentary or story or commentary on story...And today's big Facebook bomb is how Netvibes has launched a Facebook widget!(from Mashable) Now, you can get *most* of your Facebook fix on your Netvibes home page (that is, if you use Netvibes. It's what I would call a bit "busy"--although quite clean. kind of like the guys I've dated ;-) )

But there is a problem--you can't view Facebook news feeds in Netvibes...ah, me! Pete Cashmore sums up the obvious "well, duh!" reason for this:
they’re [aggregators] all motivated to keep you on their own platforms for as long as possible, rather than giving you absolute freedom to take your identity wherever you like. Right now, it’s hard to make money without owning the user’s identity in some way; user lock-in remains the strongest business model, even though superficially they exist to hand more control to you

Hey, aggregators and social networks are in the business of making money! And if they have to hold your identity hostage to do it, then by gum! they're going to do just that! (which lead Pramit Singh to say Meanwhile, all you platform owners rejoice! Your platform is just a widget on mine)

Fred Wilson, whose very good blog is overloaded with so many ads and widgets that it crashed my browser, stated the obvious about Facebook's content grabbing policies: that most of the users, like his daughters, don't quite care about what happens to their Facebook content.

And isn't that the thing that makes Facebook great--that it's all pretty much disposable (like your college LiveJournal page from 1998?)

Which has also lead Max Kalehoff (who've shared conference attendance with--although haven't met yet, so not a "friend") to cry both "foul!" and "uncle" when it comes to all the compulsive friending going on:
We’re experiencing friends overload, and it’s a tragedy of the commons. The practice of friending has morphed way beyond the term’s original intention and utility. And that is why I declare friends — at least in the social-networking context — passé.
(Note: I haven't "friended" Max. Although we have friends in common...)

But is getting "friended" worse, or just as bad, as getting signed up for someone's email newsletter just because you gave that person a business card and shook hands with her at a conference??? Yes, all good little marketers know to sign folks up for their newsletters asap. If you can't send me a "it was great meeting you!" email, then don't stick me on your email list. That's kind of like having sex without getting kissed...

And you can always refuse the "friend." Sure, you risk offending someone, but if they're not your "friend" even in the very loose sense, why be worried about offending? (Scott Karp's even more peeved than I could ever get about Facebook not being for business--then again, he's addicted to Twitter....and used to be all joyous about MyBlogLog, which doesn't seem to be on his blog any more...hmmm...???)

So, it's been a fascinating day in hypeland...but it's okay. Without hype, we'd probably have to talk about literature or something...;-)

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Jeff Hess said...

Shalom Tish,

Well duh!

Why didn't you just tell me to repoint my blogroll here.

Sheesh. Sometimes I'm such an etard.



Tish Grier said...

LOL! Jeff....I figured sooner or later you'd figure it out ;-) But I closed off the other blog so quickly that I didn't have time to tell folks to re-point. Glad you found me though. T.