With Facebook making a whirlwind of announcements this week at the F8 conference, a million ideas of Facebook’s new-found potential race through many minds. The revelation of Open Graph, Social Plugins, and the updated Graph API means big things for Facebook–so big, in fact, that we’re unable to really put our finger on what it all is going to mean. For Facebook’s brand, that awe and allure of exploration is something it’s banking on.
Going further than any socially-oriented platform has gone, the new Open Graph will integrate third party data into Facebook further than ever, while the Social Plugins provides deeper data integration to third party websites in turn. The updating of its existing API means that its current platform will be easier and more flexible than ever to use.
What’s interesting about Facebook’s huge announcement is that it goes after an ideal that’s been sensibly set forth by many a developer and social media user since the early days of online networking. Yet the cooperation of an industry to make such leaps and bounds was far easier said than done. In a move typical of Facebook, the company has boldly raised the standards, effectively utilizing its position as the first to branch out in this direction.
With that uncertainty comes a great deal of wonder and fear–Open Graph will likely monetize Facebook in such a way that the very meaning of social media marketing will be modified according to what arises from such third party consolations. The easiest way for this to be currently effective is to encourage the open-sharing of content from users. Privacy has already become a necessary hot topic regarding Facebook’s regular steps towards complete openness. The commercialization of that openly-shared content will be an ongoing debate for privacy advocates over the next year or so.
Duly, the need for additional systems to be laid over Facebook’s new Open Graph will rise even more quickly than what we observed with its first open platform and subsequent Connect launches. The need for developer activity is evident, and heavily encouraged. The most successful of those developers will be those that can pay for their marketing access, and those that can tap into multiple aspects of the Open Graph to offer efficient access to others.
While this raises the barrier to entry for smaller developers, it also provides the means for inter-app communication. It’s this inter-app communication that pumps up Facebook’s Open Graph, making it a very self-sufficient economy all its own. As some of the apps that will best be able to leverage Facebook’s expectations come from Microsoft, the business of Facebook becomes more clear.
The hope of winning the long-term battle for who owns our social data has caused Facebook and its primary competitors, Google and Twitter, to make some very aggressive moves lately. One thing they all have in common is a quickly evolving relationship with their developers. Creating a stable and inviting environment for developers continues to be a focus for gaining better access to end users, and Facebook’s brand is going to become more reliant on its relationship with developers in order to maintain a healthy relationship with us.
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