Technology, journalism, social media and social responsibility
With the Facebook F8 developer conference coming up this Wednesday, Facebook PR is trying not to be outdone by last week’s Twitter preshow buzz. Still, the biggest news coming out of the tech giant so far has been, well, likeable … but not entirely earthshattering. Unless you read it from a different angle.
As reported in the New York Times, Facebook has announced that it intends to implement a “like” button on every web page on the Internet. Pete Cashmore of Mashable said “its all part of Facebook’s plan to follow you around the entire web, and perhaps avoid the fate of MySpace.”
The idea, according to Cashmore, is to avoid becoming just another “destination” that can be “left” as soon as another easier, more reliable site comes along to replace Facebook — as happened with Friendster and MySpace.
“The more businesses rely on Facebook,” he mused, “the less likely it is to fail.”
That leaves a whole lot of individual users out of the equation, but let’s set that argument aside for a moment.
Let’s also set aside that Twitter, Meebo and others are also expected on Monday to announce ways to draw users from anywhere (Twitter calls its idea “@anywhere”) back to their respective sites.
When you view this in terms of analytics, there is a strong advertising component as well. In this scenario, the “like” button will be used as a revenue generator since it immediately measures value (“resonance,” in Twitter’s parlance) of online advertising.
The more “likes” something gets – be it a blog, news article, tweet, scientific paper, corporate site or music video – the more advertising would cost as a result. This can be increased instantaneously.
The lack of a “dislike” button is equally clear, Facebook doesn’t want to do anything that could be construed as actionable in terms of sereptitiously decreasing the value of a product or ad.
How does this help facebook? By making it the database of choice for real-time analytics, available to anyone trying to determine the advertising value of any or every website out there. This move would be similar technically to what Twitter did last week opened its database of user relationships, but far more value-oriented.
With this central position, Facebook becomes the NASDAQ of website market value. Not only that, it’s a self-validating capability, since the user must first click on the site (trackable through Google) and then on the “like” button. The combination brings together two very powerful requirements for validating the accuracy of the analytics – real-time clicks, and an active measure of value as reported by real users.
Do you agree? What are your thoughts? And, do you think Facebook has any other news up its sleeve before F8?