Friday, April 23, 2010

Graphic Reality

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase
Albert Wenger: Facebook And The Net
Fred Wilson: One Graph To Rule Them All?

Both Al and Fred are saying Facebook runs the danger of repeating Google's mistake in some form or fashion. Google made several attempts to "get" social. None of them have succeeded in a dramatic way so far. But Google was the company of the decade, and for good reasons. An obvious example of a Google social failure has been Buzz. Gmail already had tens of millions of users. And aren't people who you email back and forth with the most your closest people socially? Let Buzz present to you your social graph. That thinking bombed in a big way.

For Google the starting point is information, and it is the best in the game with that. For Facebook the starting point is the social graph, and it has been taking the lead there. You could argue for FourSquare the starting point is location, and since that can not be the starting point for either Facebook or Twitter, FourSquare does not run the danger of getting under the Facebook, Twitter bus.

Yesterday I watched Mark Zuckerberg's keynote at the F8 conference. Today Fred Wilson was talking about it at his blog, and looks like he got inspired by a blog post by his partner in venture capital crime Al Wenger.

Since Facebook has taken over Google as the most visited site in the US, you can not blame Zuck for trying to suggest PageRank is b.s. That what really matters is the social graph. I think all the Facebook initiatives are robust and good ideas to take Facebook to the next level, but only if Facebook keeps the criticisms of the likes of Wenger and Wilson in mind. Respect that there is not just one social graph. LinkedIn a few days back came out saying they will also now allow for the sharing of updates, news items and links in general, and I am thinking, great, this can be the Facebook for your coworkers and bosses. Your work social graph looks different from your friend social graph. Your family social graph looks different. And what are the chances I will find a friend of mine read the same Time magazine article as me. The chances are minimal.

So I say, march forward, but march with caution. Always be iterating means always be listening.

(Al just got promoted to the A1 section of my blogroll. He is very good about replying to the comments you leave at his blog.)

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