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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Facey and The Social Graph

Sounds like a good film doesn't it?  Well, last week, Mark Zuckerberg et al, announced the next phase of Facebook development and focus at their F8 conference.

Whilst his stage presence still has a lot to be desired, the rich vein of social networking foresight and feature list is as thought leading as ever.  Whilst Facebook can claim it's 750m (or whatever the number is this week) of signed up users, those users have generally been focused on social interactions.  The show and tell of life.  Updates, sharing pictures, engaging with lost contacts, far-flung family and the like.  You know how you use Facebook.

Over time those interactions tried to branch into different categories.  Bands and businesses created pages.  Groups evolved.  Apps became pandemic.  Facebook contains a lot of folks and this attracts advertisers, attention seekers and information distributors.

However, the concept of the social graph is taking those interactions into the next level.  The idea being that everyone has interactions in different circles (no Google pun intended there) and if you can leverage those interactions to aide decision making, your social interactions take on more importance.

For example.  Take a simple purchase decision.  If you could receive feedback, or a comment, or a like or some other direction from some one you trust, that will help you decide whether a product is good for you or not.  The key to making those decision points work is the word TRUST.  If the people in your social circles are providing that information, you are more likely to accept it.

Your social circle generally tends to contain people who have similar views, backgrounds, spending habits, favourite bands, political leanings and so on.  Of course, there are bound to be people in there who's view you couldn't care less about, but you can't have everything.

That feedback is now available dynamically through the use of Facebook's social plugins.  These copy and paste style pieces of HTML and Facebook mark-up, allow web owners to place interaction points on any on line content.  The plugin then interacts asynchronously with Facebook and the current user viewing the web content to provide information such as whether anyone in your friends list has recommended, liked, commented or interacted in any way with the content.

Neat eh?  Powerful certainly, and with the ease of use of the plug-ins and improved developer and platform support Facebook are now providing, they are seemingly moving into the territory of social platform provider.

The platform is the cloud was one organisations strap line a few years a go, I think that can now be updated to the social platform is the future of the web.