Monday, July 2, 2007

Glenn is.. Facebooking

I always thought it was odd while you could delete posts on your Facebook mini-feed, the news feed all your 'friends' see is open slather on any changes you make. So did 740,000 other users last year. As network sizes grow, I can only imagine so will Zuckerburg's headaches if they don't sort this one out.

But the Facebook train rolls on, graphs curve upward and the comparisons to MySpace continue. And while on the surface the stats are stacked well in the favour of MySpace - 28 mill accounts v 187 mill - at last count, when you look at the growth rate, with MySpace ticking over at approx. 230k accounts p/day , Facebook is mowing this down with an impressive 2.9% growth rate week on week, at 500k+ new accounts per week. And you need only look at news trends and hear the conversations at the coke machine to witness the hype.

I'd like to think this is a nice tip of the hat to Mr Jakob Nielsen, a classic case of usability and design, a satisfying user experience bringing users back each day. I also think Facebooks ability to classify and categorise friends gives it a lot more solid foundation as a linked-inesque networking tool, although I think this can still be improved. "The stronger the social tie, the more likely it is to be supportive and able to excerpt influence on the participants... Ties which are maintained across different social settings tend to be stronger than 'uniplex' ties, which are limited to a specific type of relationship" (John Cotterall). If a social networking service can start to measure and categorise the true strength of these relationships, then I can see this painting a far finer profile picture, and adding true value to the current tick-the-box-add friend network model.

It will be an interesting landscape to watch over the coming months. With Friendster experiencing a 40% growth in page views in May, it seems like social networking pie is growing bigger. Networks are expanding into different parts of the world as are people's ability to manage multiple logins.