Web 2.0 Walled Garden – It’s Facebook – Please Do the Opposite of AOL

Walled garden is a bad word in Web 1.0, but maybe not in Web 2.0 web services. In Web 2.0 and Unified Communications “presence” is a big concept and a battleground for the convergence play – the real Web 2.0 opportunity. Over at GigaOm Om writes about his views on Facebook Connect announced yesterday at the F8 2nd annual developer conference.

Walled gardens conjure up memories of AOL. No user value with vendor lock-in. Is Facebook creating a ‘virtual walled garden’ for their lock-in?. Absolutely. What is a virutal walled garden – a place where users originate and let apps and information come to them. It could be the best user experience (one of user choice) a kinds of safe harbor from the clutter on the web that we are seeing today. I think that the Facebook developer story is moving to an approach where apps and information come to the user by design. Where users have a choice to leave at anytime, but the value of the experience creates a comfortably numb user experience that makes them stay.

If I can have my presence sit at Facebook and it can let value come to me via intelligence then I like that. Facebook could be a personal agent for me using my data, their data, machines, and developers apps do all the work. Letting Facebook and my social graph do work for me can be a good thing. This is the original Google value proposition. However, it’s the opposite of Google. It’s discovery and navigaiton in reverse. It’s automated reverse navigation. The social graphs work for me the user. No silos, no requirements, no extra steps, time savings just value.

This line is very telling from Om’s story: Each service adds a few more data points about you inside the Facebook brain, which is quite aware of your activities inside the Facebook ecosystem. The brain can then crunch all that information and build a fairly accurate image of who you are, what you like and what might interest you. With all that information at its disposal, Facebook can build a fairly large cash register.

In my view Facebook is land grabing the presence component of what is looking to be a paradigm shift that will disrupt the Web 2.0 and Unified Communciations sectors (covered at BroadDev.com).

Other Web 2.0 services like Twitter et al have a unique presence component as well but they might just be a feature not a company. Silo’d platforms might not make it going forward.

Facebook might just force a defacto standard in presence by their dominate position at the user level (90 million and growing).

Could presence be ripped away from the emerging segments like Unified Communications platform and converged into an environment like Facebook? To me user value will win and if users prefer environments like Facebook where information and applications come to them then that might just force some massive change across the board.

Vertical silos might be demolished by open horizontal networks. Interesting development if that happens.

Is it the walled garden of Web 2.0?

Author: John

Entrepreneur living in Palo Alto California and the Founder of SiliconANGLE Media

6 thoughts on “Web 2.0 Walled Garden – It’s Facebook – Please Do the Opposite of AOL”

  1. ugh, i am so bored with all these social sites, honestly. i wish people would just come to my website and not expect me to keep all these other things updated, but it seems you have to play the game to stay in front of people’s eyeballs. how long will it be before everyone is sick to death of facebook like we are of myspace and friendster before it?

  2. Anji,
    Sites will have value in the origination of content but the social sites that show growth like facebook will provide more traffic to you if you have a presence there. Search engines did this with crawling in web 1.0 they stored your links to your site to sent traffic to you.

    I think that it will work in reverse where your content will be sent to users in the future – hence the reverse navigation concept.

    Old way: user went to you (your site)
    New way: your site (you) go to the users

    The filters are working in a new way from aggregate data from social information. This will be the new navigation model for users – reverse navigation or automated agents filtering and delivering content.

  3. there are so many levels of human beings, in capacity, in interest, in intelligence, everything… there are niches for all …

    while there are global paradigmatic transformations underway, not everybody changes at the same rate, some business models will linger, some will come and go quickly …

    we are on the way to everybody connected to everybody all the time … how that is supported by business and by technology is not clear, we just know it is the direction.

    nature is fully unified, businesses which embrace wholeness are moving in natural direction, ones that don’t will ossify.

    i think that is what you are implying?

  4. Gregory,
    Precisely what I was suggesting. Wholeness creates an opportunity for more data especially off the connectedness of the net.

    Google did this with search in the late 90s – focus on quality when everyone else went portals. Google was viewed as crazy but they focused on quality for users. Better filters (pagerank etc..) created a better users experience. The rest is history.

    Facebook is in the same boat. If they focus on quality value for users then they will continue to dominate. That value I’m suggesting will come from social filters on aggregate data (wholeness as you say).

    Relevant and quality information (or apps) will find the users.

    Facebook is moving toward a Search 2.0 paradigm if you look at discovery and navigation the core of a search benefit. Everying is flipping around.

    Tim O’Reilly calls it collective intelligence. I did a podcast with him where we talks about this trend.


  5. thanks for the link … mystic yogis would agree with the collective intelligence idea, group consciousness is how it is. tech is uncovering this level of reality at a rapid rate.

    (tech businesses should probably have a yogi or two on board, would save a lot of time and money blown going in the wrong direction šŸ™‚ )

    advertising will flip around too, customers creating them for companies via social media interactions, from the street up .. as you note about search

    thanks for your time, gregory

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