A Serious Facebook? Is It Possible to Create a “Facebook Adult”?

Can Facebook be turned into a “serious” social network? This is not an idle question. Facebook has up until now depended on ad revenue, which has not been as outstanding as the company could have hoped. More serious, practical applications and associated users could mean more opportunities for revenue from a range of products and services. In a recent post, Stanislov argues that yes, Facebook can be made more serious and practical if those serious people could be organized together, separate from the giggly teenagers, and given the right features and serious applications organized for them.

Wondering whether Facebook is the best place for serious, practical apps as opposed to, say, throwing sheep, I asked Stansislov to point out some serious Facebook applications. He quickly came up with a good list (I could quibble and say serious people would rather read RSS feeds in their feed reader, but I agree with most of them). He argues that developers would build more of them if the environment was well-suited for them. Maybe. If the site could be reorganized in a way that made it welcoming for these practical apps, then that’s possible.

But another issue this raises is that doing that could pull apart the whole reason much of the giggly crowd comes to the site. Sixteen-year-olds don’t go to Facebook to do serious things like check stock quotes or read the NYT. They come to communicate, view photos and “buy” their friends. If Facebook becomes known as a serious site, they could move on to Twitter or Flickr or MySpace or the next start-up. Is it possible to split off and create a “Facebook Adult”?

LinkedIn has a leg up on Facebook in this department. LinkedIn has opened up its platform for third party developers, though granted it’s way behind Facebook. But if developers start to build banking, shopping, insurance, payroll, and investing apps on LinkedIn and Facebook (or even Facebook Adult), where would users rather use them?


1 Response to “A Serious Facebook? Is It Possible to Create a “Facebook Adult”?”

  1. 1 A Comparison of the iPhone App Platform Vs. Facebook App Platform « Source Notes Trackback on July 18, 2008 at 6:44 pm

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