Roberto Rocha of The Gazette has an article on a Montreal conference that covered a current hot topic, social-networks. This was FacebookCamp Montreal, organized by Sylvain Carle. The main topic of conversation was of course Facebook. The conference provided guidance to local developers and marketers on how they could hopefully profit from this burgeoning social network scene.
Facebook has launched a new targeted ad system that pushes commercial messages to members based on their behaviour on the site. Since May, the social networking site has encouraged external software developers to create applications for users. These mini widgets let users, for instance, create slideshows, share movie tastes, and play Scrabble against each other. No fewer than 5,000 developers have signed up to create Facebook applications. Users can choose from thousands, ranging from useful to completely pointless. Tim O?Reilly, a top technology pundit, analyzed the 200 most popular Facebook apps last month and found that it?s a highly exclusive club. Out of 5,000 applications, only 45 boast more than 100,000 users. In fact, 84 applications claim 87 per cent of usage.
Despite this, it would seem that Google is concerned by this potential competitor. That may be the reason for Google starting its OpenSocial initiative with much fanfare. This is meant to encourage social network applications by using open source software. Tim O’Reilly finds this somewhat overplayed. The key issue here is who owns and manages the personal data on each individual. Given privacy concerns, this is an essential part of the equation. As yet there is no indication on how OpenSocial will tackle this.