I look at Facebook’s moves with a cynical eye, I really do. I think a lot of the changes and features they unveil are done so without fully thinking through the immediate effects on the site’s users, both individual and corporate. I also note that except in a few cases, the initial displeasure with sudden changes has died down after a bit, and people get used to the new Page layout/ad scheme/Like button functions.
Why bring this up now? I was intrigued by the talk about the switch to iFrames from FBML (Facebook’s special language for Page layouts) and tabs. Of course there is the usual uproar from people who will get used to the changes soon enough, but there is a deeper change afoot- Facebook allowing more flexibility to design apps for company pages– opening the door to more effective lead generation and customization with forms, surveys, e-commerce and other content layovers.
The talk about whether businesses need their own websites or not- why not just have a Facebook page?- has been going on for some time, but with these changes it just got hotter.
The answer is still that Facebook is not your domain, and it is good to have your own site with your own backend- where you own the entire experience, slave only to the whims of your privately-contracted (and, of course, reliable and talented) web developers- and maybe the cloud.
However, I’m not one to make predictions- who thought a social network would supplant the mighty MySpace? Who thought, 5 years ago, that print magazines would be obsolete already (ahem)? Who thought the ease and simplicity of the 8-track tape would be supplanted by audio cassettes (a bone for us old folks)?
I’m not writing off the idea of some companies- probably mostly small businesses) embracing and even being happy with Facebook as their only web presence. I’m not buying it just yet.
I try to consider the longview, which means a number of things are possible.