Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting Facebook

Yesterday, I talked through my new facebook experiment with Dave. Between, his insights, and some terrific suggestions by Nick, I think I'm starting to get this whole Facebook thing.

One of my main concerns with Facebook was:

barely have enough time to keep up my blog (not to mention have conversations with my wife), how the heck am I going to keep up a Facebook presence?

But, as Nick kindly pointed out, Facebook isn't really concerned about you publishing through it. In theory, I can continue to use twitter and my blog as I normally do, but the content will be syndicated onto Facebook.

This, as I was talking with Dave, is huge. The way I need to be thinking about Facebook is not as a set of publishing tools, but as a distribution channel. Think of it, all of a sudden I'll have friends reading my blog who would never have done so before.

One of the reasons that Blogs work is RSS - that is, your readership doesn't need to consistently return to your site to check for changes. They just read the updates as they happen. Without RSS, if people were to return to my site and find no changes after a couple days, they would no doubt lose interest. Heck, even if I was publishing, if there wasn't anything relevant, people would no doubt stop visiting. But with RSS, this isn't the case - the stream of news is pushed when it's there, and doesn't effect the user when it's not.

But, not everyone uses RSS. Which is why Facebook is so cool - they are essentially providing RSS style services to a whole population of people who don't use RSS yet. Like I said, if all goes well, I should have folks following my blog who wouldn't normally have done so.

The other feature I happen to like on Facebook are the business pages. I was able to make one for Ideas2Executables in a few minutes. The discussion board app, and the Fan capability seem really handy. I was also able to plug my i2x news feed into the page, so like my personal profile, I don't need to actually write new content to keep the page fresh.

You'll notice I used language like in theory above - that's because for the last hour and half, I've been tripping over myself trying to set up my account the way I want it. Facebook is cool stuff, with some impressive apps - but I don't think I can call it particularly easy to use. Hopefully, with a little time and practice, I'll get my account setup just like I describe above.

So, if you asked me today why I'm interested in Facebook, I'd give you a one word answer: distribution.

So, nu, will you be my friend on Facebook?

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