What is Facebook’$ value?

Dave Winer: “I’m tired of building networks of friends, over and over. Next time I do it, it’ll be for keeps. It’ll be the “real” social network, the one all future social networks build on.” … and … “If Facebook has the guts and vision to become this network, then it’s worth everything, even $10 billion isn’t enough…And Facebook has a clear shot at doing it. But there’s no evidence that they get this, and no evidence that if they do get it, that they’re going to move aggressively to fill the need.”

Observation: I find so much about Facebook that is compelling — addictive even. But until they do what Dave is talking about, they’re like AOL in 1995. A generation will learn about online identity and social networking by using Facebook, but at some point, users will want to kick the training wheels off. They’ll want all the savvy means of controlling ones identity and networks that Facebook offers, but they’ll want it all over the web: not just on Facebook. I agree with Dave on another point: If Facebook can become the (and I’m talking metaphorically, here, not technically) operating system for identity and networking, rather than being locked down to one website, then the company is worth far more than the amounts being mentioned.

I’ll stop there, although I could go a few more thousand words on this topic.

  • Blair

    I like the AOL analogy… social networking these days reminds me of the early 1990s when [the few techies who knew what email was] would ask “are you on Prodigy?” “are you on Compuserve?” “are you on…” Now it’s MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

  • I guess my question would be what would a social network OS entail? What can Facebook do to make itself *the* source for online identity?

  • Rex Hammock

    Again, my use of the “OS” was as a metaphor. That’s a big question and I’ll be writing on the topic at some point, but, here are a few simple things: The ability to export all my Facebook data to another service, or mirror it. The ability to host my Facebook identity on my own URL — not their’s. The ability to build a “rexblog community” on this blog, but “powered by Facebook” — something like Facebook “Groups,” but in addition to showing up on Facebook, thee community would be navigatable here, as well.

  • Going further, if they offered a one-click domain hosting service, they might get that monetization monkey off their back. If they took a similar model to what WordPress.com did by pairing domain registrations to blog hosting and applied it to all those faces… $10 a face could be some pretty good coin. 🙂

    They might also reduce the tech-savvy threshold for participation in the blogosphere.