words and pictures by Brian Solis
I attended the Facebook f8 developer conference yesterday in San Francisco and I’m still recovering from the overwhelming experience.
Thousands of developers flocked to the San Francisco Design Center to see their Social Sherpa in person and calibrate with his vision for the next year of propagating the social graph. It’s indeed a movement and his influence can not be underestimated. Comparisons to Steve Jobs were broadcast as freely as the ideas that were exchanged in almost every conversation.
I was lucky enough to get a front row view for Zuckerberg’s state of the social network and his plans for making Facebook more pervasive in the socialization of online content.
Facebook is aiming to become our dashboard for relationships and everything we do online, creating a cohesive and simplified connection between us to change and improve how we communicate.
Their mission is no small task, “Give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
One of the many announcements that was made at the company’s second annual developer conference was Facebook Connect, and it just may well be the epicenter of our social activity.
With just a bit of code, Facebook Connect enables seamless integration between Web sites, pages, communities, and networks and the Facebook identity system. For example, if you’re commenting on a blog hosted on the Moveable Type platform, you can now login with your Facebook details and not only will your comment and link to your Facebook profile appear on the blog, the activity of commenting is also linked back into your activity feed for your friends and colleagues to see. Digg, another example that was shared on stage, also supports FB Connect, making it possible for Diggers to log on using their centralized Facebook ID and for each story they digg, the activity is documented back on their profile.
Not only is it an aggregated system for personal identity across social networks, it is also laying the foundation for Beacon 2.0, which will more accurately assess who you are and what you like. As Om Malik points out at GigaOM, “Each service adds a few more data points about you inside the Facebook brain, which is quite aware of your activities inside the Facebook ecosystem. The brain can then crunch all that information and build a fairly accurate image of who you are, what you like and what might interest you. With all that information at its disposal, Facebook can build a fairly large cash register.”
Facebook Connect partners include Amiando, CBS.com, CitySearch, CNET, CollegeHumor, Disney-ABC, Evite, Flock, Hulu, Kongregate, Loopt, Plaxo, Radar, Red Bull, Seesmic, Socialthing!, StumbleUpon, The Insider, Twitter, Uber, Vimeo and Xobni.
Yes, it’s practically a direct competitor to the important OpenID system that has invested over the years in the education and development of unifying the social web and personal identities – with one login. FB Connect however, assumes that you want a profile in its proprietary social network, which may or may not be a bad thing. It’s ambitious to say the least. And, unlike OpenID, Facebook is not only the keeper of your online identity, but as I’ve written about for two years, it is also the hub for your online brand. If Facebook is listening, I’m not alone in suggesting that the company should also integrate OpenID. It would be the right, and most promising, thing to do.
FB Connect transforms the social network into a portable profile that travels with you across the Web, placing you and your brand at the center of the experience.
This announcement is significant in my opinion, not just for the opportunity it represents today, but for the implementations and opportunities next month, next quarter, next year, and beyond.
The ongoing integration of support for social services in the Facebook NewsFeed is aggregating and expediting personal lifestreams and quickly becoming representative of our true online activity, painting a vivid picture of who we are and what we represent online and in the real world. With FB Connect the previously isolated silo distributes your identity and creates a direct link back to your profile, which ultimately, is a bright, powerful, and distributed beacon for your personal brand.
Facebook Connect also further socializes and unites the Web.
Now, for example, static Websites can socialize, creating a dynamic link between content and people. Businesses and communities can now directly connect corporate brands with personal brands, and more notable, the people behind them. Social networks can build and leverage expertise and reputation and carry thought leadership, preferences, causes, and relationships from community to community. Facebook Connect is a powerful catalyst for investing in and increasing Social Capital.
Remember, Facebook “public” profiles are indexed in online search engines and can be among the top results when your name is searched.
In the real world, your online reputation proceeds you.
More pictures from f8:
Mark Zuckberg Press Conference
Michael Arrington of TechCrunch
Nik Cubrilovic of TechCrunchIT
Justin Smith of InsideFacebook
Kristen Nicole of Mashable and Dave Morin of Facebook
For more pictures from Facebook, please visit the following albums on flickr:
Mark Zuckerberg Keynote
Mark Zuckerberg Press Conference