They say Industrial revolution is one of a kind of an event which toppled both the economic and social structures that have been deep rooted in our societies since medieval age. If there is another event which is equally far reaching and equally impactful to world events, it is the digitization of our lives. Digitization has started as started since the age of computers and internet have transcended our lives. Art (Music, Movies, Books, Photography), Relationships (Communication, Social Interactions, Communities), Productivity (Work, Data Intelligence, Education). I cant possibly think of any aspect modern human life which hasn’t been affected or changed by the digitization.
If we look at our lives, we are being more digitally entrenched with every passing day. We communicate & connect to people digitally more often than in the past. As important as an ‘Identity’ is to a person in real world, it is equally central to a person’s digital life. Sharing of experiences, thoughts and ideas is central to humans social living. When I look at Facebook, it amazes as to what this thing is really cpable of. Facebook should try be the portal or gateway for all digital activities and interaction involving groups.
From emailing to messaging, chatting to video conferencing, sharing files to organizing your daily life (calender), online shopping to online research. Facebook has potential to solve/enhance all inter-personal or groups related activities online. Facebook with its social graph is best positioned to master the art of connecting digitally.
Here are few of the things which I think Facebook should do:
Video Conferencing: This is sort of most obvious thing for facebook to do. Video chat is a more intimate way to connect with your friends. Just think of it Facebook page covers almost everybody, you can ever think of chatting with. Next time when you want video chat with your friend, you don’t have to ask them sign up or ask your friend’s Skype Login.
File Sharing: Sharing files is one heck of a social thing. It puzzles me that, we haven’t seen a single file sharing standard emerge to become a defacto standard in the internet age. People use all sorts of tools from email to messenger, file sharing sites to torrents etc. Facebook should try to get something similar to Dropbox to make it easier for users to share files with their friends.
Messenger Client: This too like video chat is quite an obvious thing to do.
Social Music\Movie Experience: Make music & movie experiences to become more social. Like collectively watching movies and listening similar play lists. Ability to broadcast music, enable podcasting as well.
Hub for Knowledge Exchange: Facebook should top itself to be this. I would be disappointed if Facebook doesn’t go on be something more than a mere fun site to while away time. They should try to push the barrier higher, they should make it easier for people to do things like knowledge sharing, collaboration, archiving, research etc. What good is a social graph if we cant harness its power to make value creation a possibility. Few of these can actually be developed on Facebook Platform as opposed to being delivered directly by Facebook.
History tell us that online properties rise and fall more quickly than traditional software companies. The likes of AOL, Yahoo!, Orkut, MySpace are no where near their past greatness. Facebook might end up just being a fad which might just fade off. To avoid being another MySpace, Facebook continuously should add these newer experiences onto its platform to keep their audience hooked. A word of caution, Facebook should not try to be every thing for everybody, cause they run risk of users forgetting what Facebook is all about.
Facebook- What it Can be! (Part 1)