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Does Facebook Connect help enable broadcast 3.0?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’ve never been a big fan of Facebook.
Written by Adrian Bridgwater, Contributor on

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’ve never been a big fan of Facebook. I was a member once, but the ‘informality’ and (for me) childish elements of the pings and zaps being exchanged just put me off. But you know, who am I to talk? More than 350 million active users can’t be wrong can they?

So it with some chagrin that I must bow to the existence of Facebook Connect, a developer site that hosts APIs for developers to plug into and pull from the Facebook user base with their own apps should they choose to.

The portal itself has not exactly been widely reported on, but then it has only been one year since Facebook Connect’s general availability. In that time the company says that it has been implemented on more than 15,000 websites, devices and applications. For Facebook, the Connect function is essentially to, “Help drive traffic, increase user engagement and improve the registration process.”

OK so apparently more than one million developers from more than 180 countries have led to the creation of 350,000 active applications currently on the Facebook platform. The number that actually has a significant amount of users (let’s say more than one million in any given month) is only around 250, but that’s still not bad.

While Facebook’s developer zone has clearly been established to add potential monetisation streams to the company’s portfolio, the site itself describes its raison d'être as the opportunity to make thousands of websites, applications, consoles, and devices “more social”.

While I personally couldn’t care less what my friends are watching on TV and I certainly don’t want to have to visit a social network to find out what’s hot at the movies, I do see the benefit here in a wider sense. This is next-generation media, this is broadcast 3.0 if you like – a term Adobe coined at its MAX developer event in Milan back in 2008 as I recall.

For the record: broadcast 1.0 is normal TV, broadcast 2.0 is on demand media when we want it via Sky Plus and TiVo and the like and finally, broadcast 3.0 is media chosen or at least directed and influenced by our social network.

Facebook’s developer guru Ethan Beard talks about the Connect portal one year on by saying that, “From social widgets like the Comments Box, Share button and Live Stream Box to deeper integrations including log in, Facebook Connect is helping developers drive more traffic to their site, ease the registration process and provide a more engaging experience for users.”

So I’m sure I’m just being a curmudgeonly old fool, the likes of Yahoo!, YouTube, TVGuide.com, iGoogle, Digg, and MasterCard have all implemented Facebook Connect.

So I do see the benefit, I really do. There’s a good developer Wiki that takes newbies back over the platforms core components, an extensive list of ‘How To’s and a clearly presented list of the platform’s developer principles and policies. It’s everything you’d typically want from a developer zone from what I can see. I just hope it doesn’t produce too many “Facebook funwall scribble” notifications in my own personal inbox.

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