In my last post “Facebook… you’re dead to me” I lamented at the way in which Facebook apps have killed the usefulness of Facebook as a social networking application. I was wrong (at least to a certain extent) and two events since then have convinced me of that fact.
The first event was discovering that Zoho now has a Facebook App. Imagine, students can find their classmates on Facebook using the courses feature (and if Facebook takes that away I might just disown it again!) and then work collaboratively with them using Zoho. Apps like this truly have potential. Now it’s up to Facebook to stop pandering to the MySpace crowd and block apps that are completely useless and choose the best from apps that do the same thing… I mean we really don’t need super poke, pro poke, ultimate poke and extended poke… one kind of poke is quite enough.
The second event was catalyzed by UBC housing and Conferences releasing telling us where we would be living. However, they did not let Residence advisors know who they would be working with. So, using a Facebook group we got together and were able to map 80% of the advisors locations. Now that Facebook had allowed us to know who our teammates where, we then used it to join our house groups and connect with our residents before they even came to live in residence. Facebook has allowed me to find and help people that I will be living with in the coming year. It’s power as a social networking application is truly unrivaled.
Facebook is great because it combines all the useful new aspects of web 2.0 without students even realizing it. Facebook has:
- Blogs (in the form of notes)
- Discussion boards
- RSS (mini-feed)
- Twitter (in the “status ” section)
- Quick communication without commitment… for all those who groan when their IM pops up with a “hey”.
- Events (replacing iCal and Google Calendar)
- Marketplace (goodbye Craigslist)
- Picture sharing (no more Flicker)
- Forums (in the form of groups)
- Users (it is becoming nearly universal on some university campuses)
Most Facebook users don’t even know that some of the technologies that Facebook replaces exist. Well done Facebook (now if only you could get rid of useless apps… I suppose nothing is perfect).