Apr 05 2010

Facebook Slices Your Bagels!

Well, maybe not that, but it sure does do everything else.  Through expanding Facebook integration for outside content and the rapid development of internal apps, Facebook is becoming a more ubiquitous and interactive home for the internet user.

Facebook addicted by Vasjen Katro

For most people, Facebook is simply a way to keep connected with friends and family.  For a growing number, Facebook becomes almost a news source, as users can contribute interesting articles, pictures, music, and videos from all over the interwebs.  What few people have truly explored, however, is the astounding depth to which Facebook can infiltrate your life and your web activities.

“Hey, are you on Facebook?”

It doesn’t matter what your sign is, and it’s starting not to matter what your number is – at least, not when you first meet.  More and more people interested in a cute girl/guy are asking for a Facebook add and pursuing that inroad to meeting up or eventually getting a number.  It makes practical sense: both parties can “vet” the other by scanning profile details and interaction with friends, and the pursuant can send non-invasive messages that the pursuee can answer in his/her own time.

“23/m/CA ISO pure hotness, is that u?”

To take it a step further, Facebook offers dating applications (you knew it would), the most popular of which being Zoosk.  After a quick look through Zoosk, I find I am impressed.  We’ve all seen the “Hot or Not” type apps that are shoddy, buggy, and loaded with adverts.  Zoosk, however, is fast, clean, well-designed, and a pleasure to interact with.  I imagine it will become more and more popular as a quick and free alternative to sites like Match.com – especially since it’s built right into facebook.

Zoosk party by sarshet

“I got this.  You can pay me back later.”

Need to send money to a friend (or one of those hot dates)?  The application, Buxter, lets you send small to moderate amounts of real money to Facebook friends with the click of a button.  Running on the ClickandBuy.com platform, the app promises to expand the micropayment and revolutionize the way we use social networks.  I was able to sign up with this service, but as of this writing Facebook now “restricts” me from accessing it – it might be UK only for now.

“So, like, who am I?”

If you’re not sure who you are, or if you just want to share more of yourself with the world, Facebook offers tons and tons and tons of quizzes and tests.  From legitimate Meyers-Briggs personality tests to silly, “Which Care Bear are you?” quizzes, you can find any answer you never knew you needed to know.  These have been around for a long while, but they deserve a mention.

The License Plate You Want by Sam Howzit

“Save the manatees! Feed the hungry baboons!”

Perhaps less fun but equally ubiquitous are the social cause applications on Facebook.  You can broadcast your involvement, sign petitions, and donate money for almost any cause you could dream up.  Sometimes the requests get a tad annoying, and sometimes you don’t support the cause – but there’s great potential for aid and support (as we’ve seen with Twitter) for those that you do.

“zOMG, his voice melts butter.”

Speaking of support, why pick up your phone to cast your vote for American Idol?  Now you can do it from Facebook – where you’re probably sitting while watching the show, anyway.  Don’t lie.  Yes, thanks to Ribbit, a web-based phone service, you can now cast your votes online whenever you like, and the service will dial them in when the lines open up (and share your vote on your page in true Facebook fashion).  Then, your friends can unfriend you because you voted for her

“Look how easy it is to spend money!”

If you thought that was revolutionary, how about getting your iPhone apps from Facebook?  The company, Vitrue, brings this Apple wonderland to your Facebook page.  And again, the key here is in the social interaction of it all – you can just as easily “share” a favorite or interesting app as purchase it.  They really don’t want you to -ever- have to leave Facebook again.

Binary Game – Facebook Connect by yonnage

“Read it, and weep.”

Last, but not least, the Facebook Connect feature allows for seamless integration of outside software.  From iPhone games and social apps to sharing your YouTube favorites to accessing your friends’ Facebook profiles from within Yahoo Mail – all roads lead to Facebook.  The focus is to allow any information to be shared on Facebook, from game scores to news articles, so that people can connect, share, and compete all in the same, enormous network.

I love Facebook and Google for tapping into every aspect of daily life and making everything smoother and simpler, but I’m not blind.  The more we stick to the same network or service, the more likely we are to contribute to its advertising revenue – and advertising rules all media.  Still, as long as we acknowledge that truth, I think the growing demesne of Facebook could prove an interesting playing – and living – ground.

What would you like to see on Facebook?

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