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Is Facebook steps away from becoming the Internet?

20-07-2017By Vladimir Ristevski

Is Facebook steps away from becoming the Internet?

Facebook. For most people this “magical” website is already synonymous for Internet. Most low-level users, that is. It has been my opinion for years now that Facebook wants to become the Internet for power users, as well, but that is has a long way to go. Well, HAD a long way to go anyway.

Let’s start with what we know.

Fact 1 - Facebook IS the most popular and widely used social network. With 900 million unique monthly visitors (that’s right, NINE HUNDRED MILLION UNIQUE visitors) Facebook is king of social media.

Fact 2 – Facebook owns Instagram – a social network with 100,000,000 estimated unique monthly visitors and place that is a rich source of original photos and videos.

Fact 3 – Facebook owns WhatsApp and Messenger and is starting to slowly rule the world of instant messaging and VoIP.

Let’s pause here for a second and look at what we have. A social network that is used by almost a billion people, a place you spend hours on end, and related apps and services that you use to communicate with people and share photos and videos. So far, so good. What’s Facebook lacking to hook power users, too? - A way for them to stay on Facebook and not visit other sites for fun stuff or quality information.

So who are the main competitors? Surely Youtube with its highly developed video network, for one. Blogs and portals play a huge role here, also, and let us not forget email and search, a place where Google is the undisputed king. How does Facebook respond to all of this? Here’s how!

Fact 4 – Facebook made a deal with news sites such as The New York Times to host their content. What does this mean? Well, it basically means less traffic for portals and more native Facebook time for the user. Why leave Facebook when you can have it all in one place. Publishers get paid, and you get glued to Facebook. Simple and smart.

Fact 5 – Facebook started promoting its native videos in a more aggressive and viral manner. Why post your cool and original content on Youtube when you can post it on Facebook and get an extra boost out of it. Update: Facebook videos are the newest hit in social media marketers strategy and literally flood people's timelines and are now more engaging than ever. Gifs are also aggressively thrown in the mix. The biggest issue of 'Freebooting' - finding another person's video online, ripping it, re-uploading it to a Facebook page without consent (I will cover this in another post); has still not been tackled by Facebook and will continue to live on until Facebook has everyone hooked on video, and then on to the next big thing.

Fact 6Facebook wants you to blog. Remember Notes? Facebook does, and they want you to use it more often. Why waste time on blogs and portals when you can natively read stuff from (upcoming) influencers on THE social network. Update: Facebook now allows SEO for Notes, so I guess this sorts out the big problem with motivating people to blog via its medium.com-looking blog platform.

Let’s sum up then. Facebook rules chat and social networking. Facebook has its ever-watchful eye fixed on (written and video) content and eventually wants to kill-off blogs, portals and video social networks (as previously mentioned it is doing a killer job at that especially with disputably 'smart' move by YouTube to surface up YouTube Red). Facebook still sucks at search and has no email client. Update: Facebook is officially sailing into the quality search waters by expanding its search to all 2 TRILLION POSTS with real time news (not to mention the smart move Facebook made with Memories and the way it spurred a resurface of quality content from the past)

If I was Facebook and truly want to get power users hooked for good this is what I would do:

  1. Improve my shitty search - soon to be done √
  2. Introduce a native email client - still no word here
  3. Upgrade Pages to be:
    1. fully customizable and make them look like blogs and portals - Notes now have SEO so that's a major step forward
    2. have an option for a Facebook newsletter - partially been covered by sending fans that have opted in for notifications from Pages emails
    3. allow them to monetize from visits to their notes - far from being considered.
  4. Allow influencers to monetize from their notes, too, and attract journalists and other important people to blog directly on Facebook. - Google has been playing with this idea in another aspect - read more

This is the breaking point and Facebook will either learn to give some money back to its community and become the Internet or it will ultimately piss people off and contribute to them leaving and bringing back balance to the Force. Fun times ahead, so let the games begin. Google, you alive bro?

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