Introducing the Social Web

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, surprised his almost 500 million man strong user-verse this week by unveiling new features for the social network at the F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco.  Some initial response has been hyperbolic, claiming an end to the Internet as we know it; however, conventional wisdom indicates that major changes to one of the Internet’s most popular Websites will doubtlessly impact our online experience in a dramatic way.  Zuckerburg’s vision is extraordinary and revolutionary; in his keynote, Zuckerburg proposed the Web as a social being, where you, your friends, your brands , and your favorite bands (among other things) are all a part of the experience.  Ultimately, Facebook is attempting to socialize the Web in a much deeper way than any previous vision.Facebook logo

Open Graph to Blur Existing Distinctions between Websites

The main feature of Zuckerburg’s vision includes the “Open Graph.”  The CEO highlighted current issues in connecting Facebook friends to one another through their Yelp or Pandora accounts, leaving many people unconnected precisely when they are sharing informed personal insight.  As a result, Zuckerburg has proposed the Open Graph, blurring the lines of current distinct Websites.

The Open Graph is essentially Facebook’s method for reading tags from other Websites to decipher what information their users are “liking.”  For example, IMDb starting immediately will include “Like” buttons for films, and Facebook will publish your recent favorite film. Likewise, favorite plays on Pandora will be published on your profile. Furthermore, this process will be fluid, allowing for information from a CNN article –  liked on CNN.com and published on Facebook –  to appear when you hover over the News Feed story.  Facebook has paired with major partners – including Microsoft, CNN, and ESPN – ensuring that there will be enough Websites from which users can begin to test these features.

A lot to “Like” about the Changes to Fan Pages

For brands and businesses, it just got a lot easier to gain fans.  Zuckerburg announced that a single line of code will integrate a “Like” option onto Websites, so that one click can ensure an interested customer has connected to the brand via Facebook. Just like the major partners, brands that include this code will make their website, a fan’s News Feed, and their fan page separated by less than three clicks.

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There are skeptics who question whether the public desires to be so steeply invested in Facebook, or social networking for that matter, that are unsure of whether these changes to Facebook will indeed succeed.  It is important to keep in mind that Facebook’s 500 million person strong network can certainly find a sizeable group of test subjects.  The future of social networking and the Internet is uncertain; however, it seems there’s consensus to the claim that major changes are in the pipeline.

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