I have been writing a lot about Twitter and Facebook lately. This is because I have started to see some trends in the way people are using the sites, and Facebook has been in the news lately. Sometimes, you write a post that makes a lot of sense, like my Twitter data mine post, and just a few short weeks later realize something better may be on the horizon.
This morning I read two blog posts that got me thinking. First, Chris Messina has a post about Facebook’s urls changing for its users. His post targets the vanity or named url, but he has a golden nugget buried deep in the post:
That everyone on Facebook has to use their real name (and Facebook will root out and disable accounts with pseudonyms), there’s a higher degree of accountability because legitimate users are forced to reveal who they are offline.
By forcing everyone on Facebook to be real people with their real name, they enforce civility in the conversations. You do not have to look far to find anonymous comments on blogs or forums where civility would be a nice upgrade from the outright hostility you sometimes see. Robert Scoble picks up on this thread as well when he predicts how we will use Facebook in a few years.
You pull out your iPhone or Palm Pre or Android or Blackberry or Windows Mobile doohickey and click open the Facebook application. Then you type “sushi near me.”
It answers back “within walking distance are two sushi restaurants that more than 20 of your friends have liked.”
So, I finally have reached the point of this post. I wrote last week that Facebook won the conversation battle because of the new redesign and the number of users they already have. For some reason I did not “put 2 and 2 together”. From the twitter data mine post a few weeks ago I said:
As you can see, there is money to be found in the data. The big question is whether Twitter can capitalize on this opportunity.
If you take this statement and change Twitter to Facebook, you will see what I mean. Facebook has almost 200 million users who comment using their own names, meaning actual people not some psuedonym. People tend to honestly comment when their real name is attached. Now that Facebook allows people to like and comment on other people’s status updates, the real analytics and data mining opportunity will be Facebook. So, when they finally get their status update search ready (and you can be sure that they will), we will see the amount of power that Facebook has. Facebook will be able to sell their data to companies wanting to understand market data. Facebook has the demographic and geographic data in place, and just needs to sell access to the data.
Monetization of Facebook may not be the “power of the network”, it will probably be marketing the data. Facebook is sitting on a gold mine of data that companies would pay a very high price for. Thankfully, if Scoble’s vision comes true, the users will benefit from it as well.