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Facebook vs OpenSocial = Storm in Teacup??

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
6 November 2007

Following on from my post earlier this week, the debate over OpenSocial is still raging – but is it all just a big fuss over nothing? Dozens of bloggers are now arguing over whether or not the rise of OpenSocial will be the downfall of Facebook (and any other Social Network that doesn’t sign up) – but is that really the case?

Basically, in my opinion, No. The simple fact that these pundits are missing is that the vast majority of Facebook’s users are NOT the type of people who care whether applications are being developed on one platform or another, they simply use Facebook because IT WORKS. My mother is on Facebook, and does she care about whether or not the coolest new app is going to be developed exclusive to MySpace or not? No, of course she doesn’t. In fact, I’d say it’s a safe bet that of the 400+ people on my friends list of Facebook, less than 5% of those people know enough about how applications work that they’d even understand what an OpenSocial API is.

The basic truth is that unless developers want to miss out on a large portion of their potential user base, they will continue developing applications for Facebook and other sites at the same time. It’s not an ideal situation, but unless Facebook suddenly decides that a blog-lead revolt from the Google-loving portion of the developer world is enough to bring them to their knees, I can’t see them caving in any time soon.

It’s turned in to a power-struggle between the big boys in the playground now, and the rest of us should just leave them to sort out their differences and go about our business on the swings until they have done so. I know we all like to think that "The Geek shall inherit the earth", but sometimes we have to remember that the real power is with the masses.

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