Understanding Facebook’s Master Plan – Part I
It is becoming crystal clear to anyone who is watching that Facebook has a goal. It sounds more ominous than it really is as the intentions are really geared around profit and power, but Facebook’s goal is to rule the online (and parts of the offline) world.
If you don’t see that, you’re either not paying attention or you’ve been brainwashed by pokes and CityVille.
Let’s take a look at all of the circumstantial evidence and see if you draw the same conclusion.
Connecting Everything and Everyone
1 billion users. It sounds crazy, but there’s a distinct possibility that Facebook will break the 10-digit mark by the end of the year. Phase one of the “master plan” was to get the people, and they’ve done that better than any other website in the history of websites. They have our time, our attention, and our focus. As the masses flock, more masses will continue to flock as a result as connections will be fostered and harnessed masterfully. It’s a continuous flow of new users that will grow until it can no longer grow based upon the finite limit in the number of Internet-using humans.
Will dogs and dolphins be next?
Phase two has a pair of connected components that are well in the works. Component one, integration and forced-dependency by websites, continues to expand. It is not uncommon to find mainstream media publications with 10 variations of Facebook buttons and links scattered on individual pages. The recent changes to the Facebook Like button, rolling out an integrated commenting system, and the general buzz associated with Facebook as a “must have” for almost every type of website are well-orchestrated tactics that assist with a two-way flow of traffic.
With Facebook, websites win. It’s so easy.
Component two is the expansion of Facebook as a valid business tool. It is growing beyond marketing and exposure. Facebook wants transactions to occur on their platform. They want people to buy from retailers through their Facebook pages. The emergence of Facebook eCommerce will become more apparent later this year. The team that is aggressively promoting and negotiating the concept to major businesses is making headway without making headlines (which they don’t want just yet).
The whirlwind surrounding phase two is moving faster than anyone really knows. Integration is not just inevitable. In many ways, it’s here and it’s going to get bigger. Much bigger. Soon.
A Mass of Contradictions and Oxymorons
There has always been something a little “off” about Mark Zuckerberg. Socially uncomfortable, brilliantly goofy, but with an edge about him that demonstrates ambition without limits – the Facebook CEO is an enigma that exudes “I’m in over my head” while simultaneously saying “Nothing can stop me now.”
The Facebook Symbol, never discussed openly and only partially revealed thanks to his overactive sweat glands, has somehow avoided the scrutiny of the media. This symbolic mission statement from 2010 says so much about the direction of the company while saying nothing at all.
In the early days, Facebook grew based upon its exclusivity. How the most inclusive online entity today grew from a closed-membership Harvard club is a case study in reverse-psychology – you can’t have it, so you must have it. Once it opened up, the explosion began.
Like Google, Facebook has built a reputation over the years of do, then tell. Unlike Apple, Microsoft, and other successful tech entities, Facebook and Google have kept their cards close to the vest, only revealing their plans and intentions after actions had already taken place. In some cases, they never reveal their plans. They simply roll things out and wait for the media and blogosphere to notice.
This is a dangerous trait. It means that we’ll really rarely know what’s next until it’s here. This has backfired many times in the past, particularly when it pertains to online privacy, but the site and the company continue to prevail after the dust settles from every move they make.
It’s in this mystery that Facebook’s “master plan” can be partially understood. Businesses that operate under the premise of “forgiveness over permission” often do so in order to prevent deep analysis of intentions. Let the product or service make the news rather than the plans surrounding them. It’s a method of diversion that works when done well. Facebook has mastered the art.
Think About It
There is much more to it. To try to fit this into a single blog post is too aggressive. Use this to start the process and then continue to Part II about Facebook TV.
This isn’t meant as an indictment that Facebook is bad in any way. The jury is out and we wouldn’t be so bold as to judge at this point. The trends, however, can be viewed as dangerous even if the intentions are (mostly) innocent.