Facebook, The Right Way to Design a Social Networking Site

FacebookI’m relatively new to Facebook. Although, I was introduced to it quite a while ago through an invite from a friend to join, I didn’t do much with it because of my disappointing experience with MySpace. If you ever want to get turned off online social networking, use MySpace. Its tedious interface and functionality really made me wonder what all the hype was about. I get the fact that giving people the ability to completely customize their home page is appealing, a chance to really show off your individuality through pictures, fonts, designs, and music. It’s also damn annoying navigating through pages of self-indulgence that have very little meaning to me. Maybe I’m just not the target audience as I start pushing 35, although I saw Tom Anderson, the founder in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos claiming that many more people over the age of 30 are joining than ever before. Go figure.

Facebook, on the other hand has been a breath of fresh air and is the model of a great social networking site. Excellent functionality, easy to use, clean interface, and witty features. Being able to tag your friends in photos is simply brilliant! And receiving updates on the people you know in well-organized RSS news feeds is pretty cool. Yesterday, I posted my Apple iMac G4 for sale in Facebook’s marketplace and have already received six inquiries. I also added a fundraiser that I’m involved in to the event’s section that anyone can view. You can also access Facebook from your phone as well as upload photos directly from it.

It will be very easy for Facebook to layer on many more features on its existing platform, so much so that it will begin to rival LinkedIn, Craigslist and other free places online to network and commerce. As the company positions itself for either going public or being acquired, they should have a few more options beyond the advertising business model to generate revenue.


Filed under Business, Communications, Design, Facebook, Internet, marketing, MySpace, Small Business Marketing, Social Media, Technology, Web 2.0, Web Sites

9 responses to “Facebook, The Right Way to Design a Social Networking Site

  1. Alex

    I am a member of facebook and I enjoy it mainly for keeping in contact with friends who I don’t see at school. We are able to share pictures through tagging each other in facebook and are able to joke with each other every now and again.

    The following question is mainly work related.
    Do you think politics can be brought into facebook? Is the facebook crowd motivated enough to deliberate about political leaders using facebook as a platform?
    There are ways to create groups and invite people to events, but do you see any long-term use for these?
    Can facebook organize people around an ideology and get them to act on it. For example, if people are part of a May 15 gas boycott or a Vote for Barack group, do people feel obligated to follow through?

  2. Great questions, Alex. My answer is “I don’t know” since I haven’t been involved in anything political online. I do know that many political groups and causes are using social networking sites like MySpace to generate support. All of the US candidates have been very active this time around on social networking sites. We have also seen many grassroots movements that originate online take shape in the real world. From what I have seen, Facebook and other community sites, as well as blogs, can be used very effectively to motivate the masses as long as it’s well targeted to people who are interested, otherwise these efforts can be viewed as a nuisance.

  3. Luke Bearden

    In regards to the linkedin comment…
    Do you feel that the facebook community would be accepting of making business connections in their social space? Good post by the way, great to see someone else truly appreciates the usefulness of facebook.

  4. The social networking trend has left some of us “old schoolers” far behind. Guess I need to get with the program.


  5. Hi Luke, I think if Facebook allowed you to tag or qualify certain ‘friends’ as ‘business associates’ who can see/read only things you allow them to through your settings, I feel it can definitely rival LinkedIn.

  6. Rajan, My old Friend.

    Facebook has come a long way and I agree with you on it being a slick site, but it is a social site first and the business aspects look to be far less important to the power of beings of Facebook. I too have been over there for a while so I can get some first hand what is going on.
    As far as demographics I seriously question the numbers of ACTIVE members on Facebook. Plus I am not sure there is anyway to validate the numbers.
    I don’t see that kind of activity there and find that the site’s membership is primarily centered in the Northern California region of the USA, which creates the cultural business discriminations between the different cultures across the country and around the world. It is totally different in the social aspect and much more open.
    Until Facebook builds business cultural centers all around the world I don’t see it become a viable site for business networking…getting a date or finding about the latest Techy gadget, they have it covered…but not promoting business.

  7. Businessgolf, thanks for your impressions of Facebook. Very interesting, I wasn’t aware that it was so demographically skewed. I guess it makes sense that the number of people who uptake on a fairly new site like Facebook will run in line with the highest concentrations of people in the US geographically. It will be interesting to see how the site evolves. I’ve joined a few of the business social networks like the ‘DemoCamp group’ on the site. Facebook has the potential to evolve as a more useful business tool, but is by far much more about the ‘social thing’ right now.

  8. Pingback: What is Facebook? « Sezzy’s Weblog

  9. Pingback: Fabulously Fortysomething » Facebook, Ahluvit!

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