A thought hit me when Facebook rolled out the Subscribe feature. The first was that it allowed for asynchronous following relationships like on Twitter and Google+. Anyone can subscribe to your public updates. They will of course see this in their own Facebook stream. I noted a year and a half ago that Facebook was trying to take on RSS readers and at first the Subscribe feature seemed to enable this even more, but for individual people.
But with the role out of the new “Stories” profile it’s obvious to me now that Facebook wants your Facebook profile to be the representation of you online. Here’s my profile with the new stories profile enabled. With that I’m wondering about the usefulness of personal blogs. Do you have a site where you upload pictures and make random thoughts and notes about life? It’s not a personal/professional blog like this one is for me and it’s not a site you want to sell advertising against or maybe make a book deal off of but it’s just meant to be a public site to share somethings with friends family and anyone who may find it interesting. So the question becomes, if so, why wouldn’t you just use Facebook?
I for one am not about to give up my personal blog because I think you need your own, “owned” identity. But most people don’t feel that way. Most people don’t care. For *most* people Facebook is going to be enough. And now with all their “new verbs” Facebook just became a better representation of your life than anything else out there. No it’s still not absolute but it’s getting closer.
The Lifestream Lives
Back in 2008 I wrote about how FriendFeed allowed you to tell a story by aggregating all of your activity across all the different services you use. It’s no coincidence that the new Facebook layout is a true lifestream. Lifestreaming was the approach that FriendFeed was taking, which Facebook acquired ages ago. I think it’s safe to say the new Facebook is heavily influenced by that team.
I find it ironic that Posterous announced their new layout as a away to reach “normal” users. I wonder if Posterous is regretting that decision because Facebook just crushed it.
Here’s what I expect to happen:
- With the new layout and with the new subscribe feature, expect more people to use their Facebook profile the way many of us use blogs. This will become the default profile link for more and more people.
- Expect to see new WordPress, Tumblr and Posterous designs that mimic Facebook’s new design, because it is really quite good.
- Expect more and more neglected blogs across the web. If Facebook was smart, they’d provide a way for people to port their old content in.