How Facebook & Co. changed the world


I'm a bit shocked actually, because my first (brand oriented) Web 2.0 post was about Twitter and not about Facebook. It looks like times are changing and Facebook is not so dominant as it was a year ago. Nevertheless, for now it's still the greatest and in many ways it showed us the way that MySpace wasn't able to show. Even though there is a bit of controversy behind Facebook's beginnings, we have to admit it set new standards in many areas, both conceptually (real names instead of aliases, mini-feed, status updates, people tagging) and technically (open API for applications, great Ajax, useful upload). And while doing it, it changed the world we live in.

Today, there are supposedly more than 300 million people registered on Facebook. That's about the size of a large nation, such as USA. Marketers and politicians didn't take long to notice social networking sites can be great (and cheap) resources for building campaigns, sales and brand awareness. It's not so much about business, the politics part is scary. I'm really interested what will happen when a majority of a nation will make their own elections, decisions or political programs on Facebook. Will the world stand still? Is Twitter's role in the Iranian elections just the beginning of a new era of virtual governments? Who will control all of that?

Well, we better not get carried away, what I wanted to discuss was the impact of Web 2.0 on us, the ordinary people and our ordinary lives. In three years after Facebook came around (it went open for public in september 2006), the world is upside down. B.F. (before Facebook) we were thinking about how did we ever live without mobile phones. Now we think about how did we ever live without Facebook (or any other clones). Today, I probably know more people that are not on Facebook anymore than people that are still not on Facebook. A weird situation, but sadly, that's how it is. If it didn't happen on Facebook, it probably didn't happen in the real world.

This chain of events is actually quite understandable. You don't need to talk to somebody specific anymore. Instead, you tell it to the whole world and everybody takes just the information they are interested in. It's like having your own small web page, extended with galleries (Facebook already has one of the largest photo databases in the world), microblog (status update), dating portal and a fast flow of data from numerous sources. Great for stalkers, and done 100 times better than MySpace. New people and constant diversity of information keeps you jacked in. Time ticks differently in cyberworld, 10 minutes ago is so yesterday.

I'm happy one habit finally got old. I noticed that when people actually met in the real world, they often discussed Facebook. Luckily, it looks like we slowly went through everything and we will have to find something else to discuss about (perhaps Twitter or Google Wave?). I don't know if this is a trend and we will socialize on virtual socializing in the real world too. But it looks like these are the first steps of migrating to the virtual world. Hell, this post is too, so I should better shut up and go to sleep.

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written 4.10.2009 20:53 CET on chronolog
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