Why Facebook is the Cutting Edge of Social Media

Mon, Jan 23, 2012

Articles, Facebook, Social Media

Facebook gets a lot of flack from people in the social media world. As the 800 pound gorilla of social, it’s a pretty easy target. Among other things, they’ve been slammed for privacy concerns, constant layout changes, and pretty much anything else the internet community can dream up. As the constant scapegoat of the social media world, we often overlook just how often it sets the standard for the rest of the social media world. In truth, Facebook is one of the most pioneering social media platforms. Love or hate it’s innovations, Facebook is the cutting edge of social media. Here are some reasons why:

1) Facebook Has the Most Advanced Automatic Sharing Mechanism of Any Social Media Platform. 

The most controversial addition to Facebook is “frictionless sharing”, known to the social laymen as automatic posting. Instead of hitting the “share to facebook” button in a third-party app, open graph plugins automatically update to your timeline. A lot of people hate the idea of having no control over what they post (You can read my thoughts on the matter in my next blog post), but it sets a huge precedent for social media. Facebook thinks that the social media of the future will be a part of all your activities, on and offline. It might not be in the best interest of the all users, but Facebook is reading the social trend correctly; people are sharing more content every day and, in order to continue that trend, more and more sharing must be automated. Notwithstanding the privacy problems of all this willy nilly sharing, the problem becomes how to filter through the massive stream of data that frictionless sharing creates. True to form, Facebook has a solution to that as well.

2) Facebook’s Updated News Feed is the Most Advanced Way to Curate Your Social Media Feed

This is the best feature yet added to Facebook, and the most forward thinking of all it’s new features. Facebook took the old news feed and separated it into two separate fields. Facebook lets you see all activity via the news ticker, but focuses on the most important content and discussions in the central part of the news feed page. This might not seem like a major change, but it is one of the most forward thinking features. The question for the future of social media is not how information will be shared, but how it will be aggregated. As more people join social media, it will become more difficult to find useful content amidst the social clutter.

Other social platforms have their ways of filtering informational flow (Twitter has lists, Google+ has circles) but all of them require user maintenance and curation. Facebook news feed does everything for you. All you need to do is occasionally give it feedback about what stories you found useful, and which you would rather not see. While some users, myself included, like the hands-on approach to twitter list building, most people on social media have no desire to put the time into meticulously curating their content streams. For 80% of the online community, Facebook News Feed is the best content curation option.

3) Timeline Takes Stalking to the Next Level

Whether or not you like to admit it, stalking is one of social media’s most popular uses. Whether it be finding more about the person you met at the party last night, or going through the pictures of an event to which you weren’t invited, the ability to be there without really being there is one of the main appeals of social media. Timeline takes this to the next level. Instead of just seeing events as they happen, you can see trends develop over time. The next time you meet that certain someone at a party, you can check and see what he or she has been up to the past five years, and possibly avoid falling in with a compulsive serial dater.

Timeline is hugely innovative for another reason, it will usher in a new age of advertising. Where before advertisers could harvest data from your profile, with timeline advertising can track trends overtime, an entirely new trajectory of data harvesting. If this is ever implemented into Facebook ads (my bet is that it is definitely something being planned) it will be a huge leap in the way ads are targeted and sold. The success of targeted ads are a huge part of Facebook’s success, and this is the next logical step in the evolution of online advertising. True to form, any added ease of stalking for Facebook users is multiplied tenfold in advertiser benefits. Whether you love Facebook for it’s new features, or hate it for it’s slow asphyxiation of online privacy, Facebook is the cutting edge of social media.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave me a comment or send me a tweet. Let me know what you think the most forward thinking innovations in social networking are.



Mr.  David Benson is a social media analyst and coffeephile. He currently lives in New York City and works as an analyst for Mashwork, a social media analytics company.

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One Response to “Why Facebook is the Cutting Edge of Social Media”

  1. Edilene Says:

    pretty good post. i just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that i have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.


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