Facebook recently opened their platform to 3rd party developers, and it's generated a phenomenal amount of buzz.
Why? And why should we care?
Facebook has a large, demographically concentrated, engaged user base. "Opening the platform" means that brands can now develop "applications" that live on user's "profile" pages (my page is pictured below). I circled the two Facebook applications (in red, below) on my start page - one from Flixster, the movie service and the other is a 'network map', created by an independent developer...a
The neat thing? people NEVER HAVE TO COME TO YOUR SITE to engage with your brand. It's a neat little paradigm shift - call it 'taking the mountain to Mohammed'. Why use media to drive people to your brand, when they'll bring it to themselves, provided they perceive sufficient value in embracing you?
e.g., your site, when you can let them take your brand and embed it in their world?
as Mashable notes,
"We all see the upcoming surge of desktop and mobile widgets, as the idea of the distributed network matures, which makes me think that the Facebook platform is almost like the last major paradigm disruption before the distributed network takes hold."
They go on to note, that even though the Facebook platform has only been open a few weeks, over a thousand applications have been created and made available to users, and.
"the idea of Facebook applications reaching its saturation point is important to keep in mind. Those who jumped on the opportunity early on have seen the bounty of being a first mover in this space, so the newcomers will need to be that much more innovative with the applications they create."
If that ain't the gauntlet being thrown down, I don't know what is. Shocker: creativity will rule.