Well, it happened — FaceBook is now open to anyone and everyone through the new regional networks feature.Â When I logged in today I was greeted with an opportunity to invite anyone into the FB.
This was bound to happen.Â I think I know how students will react to it.Â On one hand you know it is going to blow the doors off the place in terms of new users … on the other it is going to piss a whole hell of a lot of people off.Â The second thing I noticed was an invitation to join a new group … “Students against Facebook opening to EVERYONE!!!”Â If you didn’t notice that was three exclamation points there …
Last year at the 2006 TLT Symposium here at PSU we had a student panel and the FB was a major part of the conversation.Â Students were very clear that they liked it becasue it belonged to them — not the University and certainly not to anyone outside their network.Â This changes all that.Â I am just going to sit back and watch as you know there will be some sort of backlash … I think we can all remember their last big set of added features.Â What will this mean to the FB on our campus?Â I think it will expand it, but this is one of those tipping points where things are never the same.Â Will students think differently about how they use the FB?Â Time will tell.
In light of the recent FaceBook craziness I have been telling anyone who will listen that the community will regain control over the insanity … today, FB decided it was time to listen to their community and made some changes. This all looks to me like a huge moment in the web 2.0 space — people have a voice, they will use it, and they will protect what is important to them. There is a lesson here folks … don’t piss on the digital herd and whatever you do don’t make a mistake when you are out in front — especially if your success is built around a vocal demographic.
On a related note, I wonder if Amazon would change their tune if all the Mac folks decided they were going to stop buying books (and all the other stuff they sell) because their new Unboxed service in not Mac friendly? Given the power of the blogosphere and the explosion of community this could be a reality. Say what you will about small Apple market share, but 5% of Amazon users would make a difference … it isn’t like it used to be when people just had to take whatever the big boys told them. We have a voice and we will stop showing up. I am not picking on Amazon per say, I am just saying that making big time service decisions aint what it used to be. Watch out, the times they are a changin’ (BTW, that isn’t my line).
In the meantime, log into FB and update your privacy settings — I am sick of seeing all your changes.
I was talking with a student today and he was telling me how much FaceBook blew it with the new set of services they introduced a couple of days ago. I had actually logged into the FB just the other day and was sort of shocked to see the new feed feature running on my profile page. What was both interesting and a bit disconcerting was that I was able to see a whole bunch of information about all my friends and that my friends were able to see a whole bunch information about me. I thought, “I’m nit sure I want everyone to know that I just updated my music profile …” At that same time it was nice to see that one of my friends had gone from single to engaged for example.
When I listened to this student talk about how pissed everyone was I thought about a bunch of people sitting in a room making decisions for their audience … I’ve been in rooms like that, a group of people deciding on features we were convinced were the best thing to do only to find out the hard way we were wrong. I have been thinking about doing a real review of what has gone wrong with the FB’s latest moves but when I read Fred Stutzman’s post on his excellent blog Unit Structures this evening I just thought I’d point to the expert.
This post sums up the importance of the FaceBook API for the rest of the connected World. Now please understand that the author, Ethan Kaplan, is the Director of Technology for Warner Bros Records and his job is to create new and unique opportunities to help sell to the demographic we call
customers students. Things like this constantly remind me we should be really thinking about how we must consider our own taps into FB like spaces.
My good friend Brian Smith is going to try something a little different this semester — coordinate his course via FaceBook instead of PSU’s CMS, ANGEL. I am very interested in how this is going to shake down. Brian says he’ll be posting his thoughts during the semester over at his site. This could be interesting.
In a quick read of one of my new favorites, Fred Stutzman lays out some common sense advice for students’ use of the FaceBook. Just a good read — and if you are teaching in a place where students are using the FB, send them this link.