#facebook

Some Thoughts On Facebook Paper

I’ve been trying out Facebook’s latest app, Paper1, all day and thought I’d post some initial thoughts.

1) It’s very well done. Some of the design seems a bit heavy-handed at times, but it’s responsive and sleek.

2) I’ve already replaced the standard Facebook app on my phone with Paper. It has basically everything you need from Facebook except Events, which you have to assume is another one of the stand-alone apps they’re working on.

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Peter Kafka:

The promotion is part of a new Facebook effort to get stars posting “public content” on the service — in the way that lots of people already do on services like Twitter and Instagram. As I’ve noted in the past, Facebook has been explicit about its pitch: Publish with us, and we’ll pay you back with eyeballs.

And now we can see exactly what Facebook is offering.

Facebook, your Twitter-envy is showing. So lame.

The Age Of The Social Network Is Ending

For his story about Secret, a Google Ventures porfolio company that launched today, Mike Isaac asked me the following question:

Just basically curious as to why you’re interested in Secret — why this after we have so many “social” apps — how different, etc.

This seems to be a common question both amongst journalists and investors. And it’s certainly a fair one. If there is indeed an “App Wall”, many of us hit it long ago. But it seems to me that things are shifting once again.

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Om Malik on the recent movement away from Facebook’s centralized way of doing things:

You can see this cycle through the entire history of the commercial Internet. The original web was so sparse (but also so slow to navigate) that Yahoo was started as a guide of worthwhile sites because it wasn’t easy to flit among web pages. Yahoo’s directory proved popular, and sensing opportunity, the company added all sorts of new features: search, chat, email, stock tickers, sports, news, personals, e-commerce, and photos. By the late 1990s, Yahoo had become the grand aggregator, its pages as cluttered as a Canal Street stall. This created an opening for Google, with its bare-bones home page that held only a search box and company logo. With the rise of broadband, which made it easy to jump around, the web became disaggregated and brought with it focused, functional tools such as Skype and YouTube.

Fast-forward to today and replace ­Yahoo with Facebook. Facebook showed us the value of aggregating all of those small chunks of information, including photos and status updates, that we wanted to consume on the now dynamic and interactive web. That single string of updates, known as News Feed, was a brilliant product that powered the company’s rise from 2006 to 2011. Then along came Instagram and its peers, born for a generation that doesn’t know how to live without an always-on connection. They facilitate new online behaviors that have been invented for a world of touch and mobile. These apps were designed to be great at just one or two things. The tech world had swung back to being simple, lightweight, and fast—at precisely the same time that Facebook feeds were becoming so bloated and complicated.

Yep, it’s cyclical. And this is also why Facebook is now working to unbundle its own services, to distance itself from the cluttered mess it has become — before it’s too late.

Dan Primack:

Twitter itself obviously wanted a bit of price pop for PR and employee morale purposes, but here’s something else employees could be thinking about today: Had Twitter priced at $45.10 per share and used the extra proceeds to give out holiday bonuses, it would have worked out to more than $580,000 per employee. How’s your morale feel now?

It is interesting that Facebook maximized the amount of money it made by going public, and it was viewed as a “failure”. While Twitter clearly left a ton of money on the table, and that’s viewed as a “success”.

This is a case where perception is reality. But let’s be clear, the real winners today are the same ones who were the real losers of the Facebook IPO: the bankers.

Allison Fass reporting on Peter Thiel’s talk at SXSW this year where he recounted the time in 2006 that Mark Zuckerberg turned down Yahoo’s $1 billion offer to buy Facebook:

His only partial rationalization at the time was that in the history of Yahoo, it had made two $1 billion offers that were also turned down. And those were to eBay and Google. “At least I could actually make a pseudo-scientific argument that in every case Yahoo offered $1 billion and it was rejected, it was the correct thing to do,” said Thiel.

I should say that I know absolutely nothing about any sort of talks/deals between Tumblr and Yahoo. And I’m not sharing this to suggest that Tumblr should turn down such a supposed offer (my initial gut feeling is actually that such a partnership would make a lot of sense). I just found it fascinating given how closely the reported number is to the key number repeated in Thiel’s story.

Shaunacy Ferro on the making of Facebook’s stickers:

Yet Keltner thought that by incorporating some of the principles from Darwin’s seminal work on emotion, he could add a touch of the richness he felt existing emoticons lacked. “I’m naïve about emoticons because I’ve never sent one in my life, but I’ve looked at them—it’s just missing a lot of important things in our emotional lives,” Keltner says.

Sympathy, for example, can be hard to really get across in traditional emoticon form. “It’s an under-appreciated emotion in Western culture,” Keltner explains. “We now know what it looks like and sounds like because of science. They created this dynamic emoticon that when you see it, it’s really powerful.”

When I first heard about virtual stickers being a thing, I, like everyone else, scoffed. Now I’m utterly addicted. And I have no idea why. 

I’m of coursed biased in saying Path’s are the best. But I do find the science behind Facebook’s interesting.

Caroline Winter for Bloomberg Businessweek:

Content, available in English, will initially be free. When readers log on to the site for the first time, they’ll receive a certain number of points—Chang calls them “karma points”—which will slowly be depleted as they click through articles. To restock on points and maintain access, they will have to share the site’s stories through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. It’s a bit like multilevel marketing—the more readers spread articles, the greater their access. Those who bristle at being asked to share content can buy points; five points will cost 99¢. “I’m sort of riding off of a gaming model where, instead of pay to play, you can share to play,” Chang says.

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer a world where people share articles because they think they’d be useful for others to read, not because they want to get points. 

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan for Fast Company’s Co.Design:

Gehry and Zuckerberg, in a way, are trying to engineer their own Low Road building that’s still a pleasant place to work, thanks to the expansive roof garden. Assuming that’s actually the thinking behind Facebook West, it’s refreshing to see an architect, known for championing form, focusing on function. It’ll be exciting to see how the building progreses—construction is expected to start immediately.

Like.

If Microsoft Were The Inventors Of Facebook Home, They’d Have Invented Facebook Home

Here we go again.

Frank Shaw, Microsoft’s head of communications, took to the company blog today to “congratulate” Facebook on the launch of Facebook Home. Except that he’s not really congratulating Facebook, he’s passive-aggressively signaling the old “WE DID THIS FIRST!!!” whiny bullshit that Microsoft loves to pull from time to time.

Microsoft, by way of Shaw, seems annoyed that Facebook is getting all this buzz for something they believe they did in 2011 with Windows Phone.  They’re pissed off that such a fact which seems so obvious to them wasn’t brought up enough yesterday, so they’re bringing it up themselves. 

Not mentioned is that it wasn’t brought up because Windows Phone, while a good product in many regards, is a complete after-thought in the smartphone market. You can yell “FIRST!!!” as loudly as you want to try to change that, but that never works. 

Said another way: If you guys were the inventors of Facebook Home, you’d have invented Facebook Home.

What’s deliciously awkward here is that Microsoft is actually an investor in Facebook, and a close partner. It must be especially maddening that Facebook would choose to utilize (or “spoon”) a product by their chief rival — hence Shaw’s comments about Android in his post. 

I’ll just repeat what I said a year ago on a similar matter:

If you have to tell people you won, you lost.

An extensive look at the future of Facebook’s business by Kurt Eichenwald for Vanity Fair. As he notes:

Then came the miracle of television. And once again, advertisers were flummoxed. Photographs and drawings on signs and in newspapers—sure. Ad copy read over the radio airwaves—got it. But television, with moving pictures—what were they supposed to do with that?

The thought that advertising won’t work online in a variety of ways is and has always been a joke. It needs to be different depending on the format (mobile vs. desktop web, etc). But with so many eyeballs, it will be bigger than all of the other mediums. Probably combined. Soon.