Obligatory Facebook Post

The big Web 2.0 story of the last week or two has been the Facebook platform. If you want a catchup or reminder, I recommend Read/Write Richard’s post of a few days ago.

If there has been a dominant theme to the conversation I’ve read, it’s: Facebook now open, MySpace closed, Facebook’s openness to widgets from third parties is good, so the news for MySpace is bad.

While I think that the “open Facebook” theme is important, there are a few other themes that seem to me to provide particularly important counterpoints.

There’s Paul Kedrosky’s interesting assertion that Facebook is the Microsoft Office of social apps. It offers one-stop shopping, at the price of mediocrity and lock-in.

Then there’s Josh Catone’s opinion: I don’t think it will necessarily hurt the MySpace widget ecosystem that Facebook is more open to widgets. For most widget developers, the widget itself is less important than the service, in terms of both cost of development and benefit to the user.

I won’t discuss either of the above themes here, partly because there’s already a discussion in the form of comments on each post I’ve linked to, and partly because I want to start up a theme I that has been rather faint since the Facebook news. I’ve heard it most clearly on a Vox post which starts: If anyone is wondering where I have been, the answer is Facebook. Darn, that site is addictive.

It may turn out that the service hardest-hit by the openness and growth of Facebook is Vox, Six Apart’s “great place to build your online neighborhood”.

As for me, I’m not looking for one-stop shopping. I’m in favor of standards, like OpenID, that make mix-and-match 2.0 simpler.

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