Facebook is doing some amazing things – and it’s not just because it is a smart social network. Innovation is constant and is heavily influenced by Facebook members. As time goes by, Facebook is solidifying its grip on a very loyal userbase and attracting new members because…it’s just better.
Take a look at some of the data out there and it may just be the reason why we continue to see tremendous percentage growth (Compete.com estimates that compared to this time last year, Facebook visits are up 127%).
So, without further adieu, here are seven reasons why Facebook is rocking:
Facebook’s success starts with it being a clean, secure, and stable environment. Basically, it is the opposite of MySpace.
Facebook puts the user in control, allowing them to limit specific pieces of information they want to share within their various networks. In fact, there are so many privacy controls that it is a bit overwhelming at first.
2. News and Mini-Feeds
You might have heard about the backlash to Facebook’s News and Mini-Feeds when they first arrived. Essentially, these feeds show updates from a user’s networks on his/her homepage: “Mike and Bill are now friends”, “Michelle posted a link.”, “April tagged Jen in a photo”, etc.
I would argue that feeds are now the defining feature of Facebook. It is what keeps users logging in, expanding their networks (e.g., Mike sees that Bill became friends with Andy and knows Andy too, so then he connects with him), and more generally being active on Facebook. Feeds keep Facebook fresh; their absence on MySpace makes it stale and boring.
3. Status Updates
If you are a fan of Twitter (or know anything about it), then Facebook Status Updates are right up your alley – except they are smarter.
While I like the idea of Twitter, sharing “what you are doing” with everyone in the world doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. But what if you could share your status with a subset of trusted friends? Status Updates are Twitter 3.0 (yes, two versions ahead of it).
Of course, Status Updates couldn’t be compared to Twitter unless mobile updates were available. And they are. But in addition to updating your status, you can post links to your profile and get info about your friends – all via text message commands.
There is also a very sleek mobile version of Facebook available at http://m.facebook.com. Try pulling MySpace (or most websites) up on a mobile device…not pretty.
5. Near Unlimited Photo Storage / Advanced Photo Editing
While MySpace is out buying Photobucket, Facebook allows near unlimited photo storage on its site. Each album is limited to 60 pictures but there is nothing indicating the maximum number of albums a user can have.
Facebook also allows people to “tag” photos. See your friend Sally in a photo? Tag that portion of the photo and it will get associated with her. You can even view all photos tagged with “Sally” (users can remove the tags if they don’t want them on the photos).
Check out the most recent post on the Facebook Blog – Facebook Photos Infrastructure.
6. Facebook Marketplace
Yes, it is true that MySpace has this sort of functionality (i.e., a classified section). But in Facebook, you leverage privacy and perhaps more importantly, benefit from targeted listings. Items are posted into networks, so it makes them easier to find and more relevant. Classifieds do not work as well unless they are geographically based.
The Facebook Developer Platform allows interested parties to build on top of Facebook. Picture Facebook as the Salesforce.com of the social networking world.
Facebook’s Firefox Toolbar is one very cool example of what you can do with it. And I’m certain more powerful examples are yet to come. If you don’t want to take my word for it, maybe you’ll listen to the WSJ (Facebook Opens Its Pages As a Way to Fuel Growth).
Honorable Mention: Facebook Share