So it’s only been a month since I’ve really been active on Facebook (FB) and I like what I see.  First, let me say that I’m on both platforms. FB is a different kind of experience than MySpace, largely because it seems easier to navigate and customize.  The one big drawback of FB is that you have to be a user in order to see pages.  That limits its usefulness as a business building platform, since your page is not open to the world. 

But once you’re in, you find that FB is highly flexible.  In fact, thanks to the News Feed section, which give updates on what’s happening in your network, you learn a lot:: Who’s become friends; who’s modified their profile; and who’s added new applications.  It’s the latter that strikes me as interesting.

The big question is: What’s the role of a brand within a socially networked environment?  Is it enough for a brand to have lots of friends?  Even giving this only the most superficial of thought, the answer would seem to be no.  After all, having lots “friends” doesn’t necessarily mean that a brand has high engagement.

Which is where FB applications come in.  I haven’t subscribed to many, but I like the idea behind them, particularly as they work within FB.

FB provides for a couple of levels of virality. 

  • First, you can passively note that people in your network have added said application. 
  • Second, you can reach out and actively share the application with your network.

So, here’s where brands might play: Create a cool application.  Be useful.  Be fun.  Just don’t sit there like a bump on a social network (a bad pun, I know).  For example, if one of your brand’s attributes is about health and wellness, you might consider creating a calorie counter.  Currently, there are 500+ groups devoted to “calories”, but there is only one (1) calorie application.  Seems like a big opportunity for the right brand. 

While addressing the issue of FB’s advertising model, tech guru Robert Scoble had this to say about its applications:

. . .now my social network brings me cool applications. . . it’s the application platform that got me interested in Facebook and THAT is where I expect to see the hot new advertising models pop up.

That should be enough prodding for today.

BTW, my Facebook profile is here and my MySpace profile is here.

Posted by Rob Fields