PsychBook Research

Collecting and analysing psychological research on the most popular social networking site in the world today.

The future of Facebook – the optimistic view

As some of you may know, I’ve been toying with the idea of predicting the demise of Facebook for some time. In fact, based on reasonably sound psychological theory, I almost had it nailed. But now I’m not so sure. What follows is the optimistic argument of why Facebook could be around for a very long time.

As this is being written (April 21, 2010), the Facebook Developer conference (f8) is underway in San Francisco. The company is rolling out a new application programming interface (API) which will allow third-party developers of software a lot more scope than previously. What this basically means is that Facebook is making it extremely easy for companies to add Facebook goodies to their sites. You will see the Facebook ‘Like’ button everywhere in the next few months.

More to the point, Facebook will be everywhere. Their functionality will be on every page and this will be even be for web pages that don’t even have a Facebook accounts. You will also soon be able to get a Facebook toolbar and extension for your browser. Have a look here for a more detailed explanation of what’s to come: Facebook Announces Open Graph API and 5 New Social Plugins at f8

As Mark Zuckerberg says on his own blog:

“we are making it so all websites can work together to build a more comprehensive map of connections and create better, more social experiences for everyone”.

If they manage this, Facebook will effectively become the Google of social networking. In such a scenario, every internet user will be a Facebook user, and will be able to approve and disapprove of everything they find on net, via Facebook buttons everywhere, and all this activity will be appear on their own Facebook page. The issue of what Facebook will do with this information (behavioural advertising and targeting) is another day’s work, but if they pull this off, then Facebook will surely become a permanent feature of the internet for some time to come.

What do you think? Do you think Facebook will become the Google of social networking? check out this survey!

Categories: Opinion