If there ever were a post where the title said it all, this is the one.
For weeks, months, I have been working with my team at SocialMedia building applications inside of a clean well-lit, hermetically sealed social network called Facebook.
Here is what we now know about this platform:
- It’s has an “open” API that exposes its “closed” social graph.
- It shields each of its 30 million users behind a cloak of absolute privacy, where every social connection is required to opt-in.
- It maintains total control over the syntax and organization of every single one of its pages.
- It is starting to dominate the time spent online by its users, stealing click-share from every other web site and service.
- It holds captive the rich behavioral data of its audience.
Fred almost threw me out of his office a few weeks when I suggested that “closed was the new open.”
I had challenged him on his logic for investing in Twitter by asking “what is the role of Twitter when Facebook has commodified the status update?” and he replied that the entire USV portfolio was built on the premise of openness. As a co-founder of AttentionTrust and co-organizer of the Open Data conference, I am, of course, a strong advocate for users needing to own copies of their own data and for them to be able to easily move it around and see how it is being used by others.
Just as AOL consolidated its position in the early 90′s by offering a far more convenient, user-friendly interface to the online world (despite the reality that it was a proprietary walled garden written in rainman), so now is Facebook doing the same by offering a better interface to your online world.
The openness that Facebook enables is really simply the opportunity to build closed ecosystems on top of its social graph. This is the story, for example, of Slide’s Top Friends network, which in less than two months has established a proprietary social graph on top of Facebook’s own proprietary social graph.
More on this in the days to come.
In the meantime, check out our new blog.socialmedia.com for commentary about an important new meme, NFO: News Feed Optimization.