Websites these days are advanced; they like to be helpful. For example, many offer to save your log in information for later. One such site is Facebook. And for a while, I assumed Facebook’s gesture (like many others) was there for my convenience — to be helpful. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it’s something much much more than that.
When you check that box, Facebook keeps you logged in for more than just their site. You’re logged in across the Web with Facebook, too.
Take the Washington Post: as Digg users observed, the site is heavily invested Facebook tie-ins but as a publisher, it is just one example. For example, when you view this article about Wisconsin governor Scott Walker while not signed in to Facebook, you get the following:
The “Network News” box is populated by what looks like the top stories of the day. By contrast, when you’re logged in to Facebook, you get this:
See the difference there? It’s nearly the same “Network News,” but now I see shared articles from Facebook friends.
That one little check box allows for Facebook’s reach to move from beyond its one .com and the content in that domain and instead to many thousands of sites across the Web, and all the content on those pages.
It’s Facebook Connect, but without the obstacle of individual sign-on at each location. If the point of a universal log-in is to reduce friction when accessing (and sharing), this is it. To users, it’s a passive (and easy) way to stay connected within the Facebook ecosystem: sharing articles and sending them back into the algo to be distributed across friends’ News Feeds, populating likes for social ads, parsing the interactions for correlative data about demographic interests or Zeitgeist, etc. All of this, I should say, is fine (at least by me, since I know that it comes with the territory).
The social layer of the Web is here, and to think it’s all aided by that one innocuous check box.
Tags: check box, connect, digg, Facebook, log in, log on, news feed, washington post, zeitgeist
Facebook’s forthcoming status promp asks users “What’s on your mind?“
What can we expect from this?
I think we’ll see a proliferation of Twitter-like status updates, no doubt what Facebook has in mind. I think we will see more links to videos on YouTube, more stories from NYTimes. We will see a greater number of status updates which follow the form of the typical Twitter post: “I found/created this cool article/blog/link/photo. Here are my impressions. This is the shrunken link.”
- Screenshot via VentureBeat
In addition, with no apparent 140-character limit à la Twitter, people will be inclined to ditch the Links and Notes apps on Facebook. If you could tag your friends in Status Updates (simliar to an @reply in Twitter), I could see people abandoning these other forms of link/article sharing. Instead, the dialogue could take place as a part of the stream, not on some sequestered page on each person’s profile.
Currently, Facebook asks, “What are you doing right now?” As a result, two recent status updates on my NewsFeed are: “Christina cannot believe how fast time is flying!” and “Jason is YouTubing Korean Pop Dance Routines…”
Under the new configuration, when asked “What’s on your mind?” Christina might post, “wondering how fast time is flying…Stanford 10-week quarters go by so quickly! [http://tinyurl.com/c687t4].”
Jason might say, “YouTubing Korean Pop Dance Routines: this one is just crazy [http://tinyurl.com/bwm7fb]. What do you think?”
Tags: Facebook, linking, links, news feed, status, status update, Twitter, what's on your mind, YouTube