Facebook – friend or foe?

Facebook has announced that it has hit 30 million active users. Unlike MySpace, Facebook doesn’t pad its numbers with dead accounts: these people log in at least once a month. As you can see by extending the graph below, the number of active users has doubled since the start of the year.

We also have a battle of the DIY networks – for example, Richard McManus tells us that Ning is one that has a higher profile than others described – and this network tool is one that is very popular with teachers.

My problem right now is that I have too many networks! Is this part of why Facebook is taking off? …….. the fact that there are more and more applications that can be plugged into Facebook saving me from acting like a jumping bean?

I’m not yet sold on Facebook – but on the other hand I am pretty tired of skipping from one NIng network to another – and overwhelmed by the fact that I could actually be writing what amounts to a blog on each of my networks. Chills the spine.

I think that Ning is better exploited on specific projects with specific groups and not as a worldwide collaboration platform. But Ning is evolving and fantastic things keep being added. Will we find a Ning IN Facebook eventually, or is there another [r]evolution around the corner? driven by API and widget developments.

We’re told that a major development in the history of widgets occured just this week; the W3C published a draft of the first widget specification. The goal of this effort is to standardize how widgets are scripted, digitally signed, secured, packaged and deployed in a way that is device independent, follows W3C principles, and is as inter-operable as possible with existing market-leading user agents on which widgets are run.

The rise of widgets was caused by several factors including the adoption of RSS, the expansion of the blogosphere, growth of social networks, fashion of self-expression and the democratization of the web at large. I think that “Widgets-R-Us”!!

Read more on the topic at the Evolution of Web Widgets.

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