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Displaced Chat - Micro Bridges

Jeremy Wagstaff had a thoughtful post last week about Facebook and used the description "displaced chat" as a way to interact without directly approaching them. I think this is very similar to the advice given when jumping in at a party. Listen first. Facebook provides the opportunity to listen and contribute in context; it creates micro-bridges for conversation. It does this without the user having to learn about RSS etc. We become better as a society and community when we learn to listen. That is part of the Facebook appeal... the sense that others are listening.

Jeremy compares it to Skype and the network effect. Facebook like Skype has tipped and we will have a hard time moving off of it. Unlike Jeremy I don't think something will come along in six months to replace it.  However the battle  for retention is increasing. Google just added a newsfeed to Orkut (inevitable) it does more and less that Facebook.

I call it "displaced chat" -- partly because I have pretensions to academia, and partly because I believe it describes a way for people to interact with others without directly approaching them.

Of course, we shouldn't get too excited about this. Something will come along to dethrone Facebook soon enough (I give it six months; once everyone has basically hooked up with everyone they know or want to know, there's not many places to go.)

But, as with Skype, it doesn't matter. The gates have opened. A whole new bunch of people have embraced a technological innovation -- social networking online - and found that it's easier than they thought. And more rewarding. 

Facebook's task is to keep the community learning faster; thus public listings is in my view a good step. They don't let us import enough feeds or export enough. They should take an active role in identity development. They should augment communications etc. In a short time Developers may well be saying that Facebook (like Skype did / does) eats their children (- the developers that create value added applications). Skype failed to keep community momentum. By contrast Google continues to have momentum.

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