Welcome to the Internet on Facebook

Anyway, even though I don’t really use Facebook much anymore, I still read coverage about it, and this piece today about Amazon-owned Quidsi launching eCommerce for Amazon properties Diapers.com and Soap.com on Facebook struck me.

I remember back in Facebook’s infancy, Mark Zuckerberg boldly declared that he wanted Facebook to be the new internet, all contained within the comfy walls of facebook.com. Big talk, given the company’s size, user population and the not-so-distant failures of other closed garden internets like AOL.

But today, as Facebook nears 600 million users, let’s look at what you can inside its walls:

  • Shop and buy online from a retailer.
  • Buy and spend Facebook Credits.
  • Search Facebook and the internet, albeit poorly.
  • Play games and buy stuff within the game.
  • Chat with your friends.
  • Email your friends.
  • Post status updates and links.
  • Post videos and photos.
  • Blog.
  • Comment on nearly everything.
  • Like nearly anything.
  • Curate your experience with lists and bidirectional networking.
  • Join and create groups.
  • Manage your personal calendar.
  • Create and promote events.
  • Ask and answer questions.
  • Watch videos and view photos posted elsewhere without leaving Facebook.
  • View and click on ads.
  • Install applications to extend the experience.
  • Use your Facebook credentials as a personal ID in places outside Facebook.
  • Run a online presence for your business including advertising and analytics.

This list isn’t exhaustive either; I’m sure I’ve missed a few features. Facebook is the largest photo-sharing site, by a huge margin. It’s the second-largest video-sharing site. It drives enormous traffic numbers, with very high engagement, the Holy Grail of digital marketing.

Let’s not forget you can do most of these tasks from any smart or dumb mobile device too, as well as from any browser, and entire businesses, e.g. Zynga, depend on Facebook for their existence and survival.


Recently, some have forecast Facebook’s downfall, but Facebook has become too big to fail. Its future includes increased regulation and more privacy concerns, and yes, it seems likely that the original crop of employees will divest and move on to other projects.

That’s completely natural.

Facebook will live on though because literally everyone uses it. Its sheer size and utility (not just to individual users, but to businesses and government agencies) will keep it alive.

I’m amazed that Zuckerberg was able to pull off his plan.

Time for questions. What can’t you do on Facebook? Can we declare it a complete Internet, housed within facebook.com? Does any of this make you nervous? Do you want to play the question game?




  1. Reminds me of the AOL CD-ROMs/coasters I used to get weekly. Glad that AOL’s strategy failed. Hopefully, Facebook is destined for the same.

  2. I think Google and Apple should try to provide their own Mobile Networks. I would like Apple to try using Ping, and decouple it from iTunes so you are not forced to access the iTunes store to ping other people also expand the services and provide other cool stuff. I like Facebook, but is getting way too powerful, besides Facebook is not as dynamic as Twitter, and many times you don’t find relevant posting other than your friends posting Farmville gifts like crazy. That really doesn’t add much to my knowledge base. Android could do the same hopefully GoogleMe comes out with a compelling Mobile App… I just think we need options other than Facebook…

    My two cents

  3. I’m not a fan of controlled networks, so adding competing, branded networks from Apple and Google just feels wrong. The problem is that a for-profit company will always try to commoditize users, which makes social a paradox. You need users to exist, but your goals never match those of your users and cannot, lest you fail to make money.

    It’s really too late to stop Facebook, so I guess we’ll just wait around for the next transformative technology to marginalize them.

    The opportunity here is for a paid version. Facebook is free, thereby creating the paradox; if they begin to charge (which I suggested last year), people can get what they want, i.e. no ads, no tracking, privacy, etc.

  4. Saw that, interesting case study about something that our kids won’t understand. First, explain what a cee-dee is, then what dial-up was. Screw it.

  5. The only time something is too big to fail is if the gummint steps in to keep it from failing. Just heard an analyst recommending AIG and JPMorgan on an AM radio business report. “This point” may only be a point.

    I still have a stack of those cd’s, I intended to make mobiles with the kids, to hang outside – the colors are pretty, and they do an amazing job of repelling bugs. One of those projects I just haven’t got to yet (though I have hung individual ones)… it doesn’t take long for words like mobile to evolve new meanings, eh?

    Funny, I posted a couple of hours ago elsewhere in another Oracle context about business and customer’s goals not matching.

    There’s always some way to tell kids “when I was your age…” It can be very entertaining to see what they retain of such information.

  6. One thing Facebook can’t do: well, it can, but not well. Is allow me to search as effectively as Google. I may be a focus group of one but I since FB’s Open Graph took flight I log out every time.

    and you aren’t going to convince me to got to facebook.com, log-in, and scroll down to the bottom of their search results to get access to what I need quickly.

  7. I have seen some clever uses for old AOL CDs, a throne comes to mind.

    Re. too big to fail, I’m talking about the government explicitly here. I don’t think FB will fail, but it’s heading into new territory, making itself an integral part of people’s online lives. Governments want to regulate it and protect their citizens. Expect intervention if things go south or sideways.

  8. Um, I mentioned search and how bad FB is at it. The link is to a post on why FB should be better at people search. Look for that to improve. The MSFT relationship is the only way Bing will continue to make headway vs. Google in search.

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