Facebook: 'technology business, not media business'

Facebook vs. MySpace?
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor on

When I chatted with Melanie Deitch, Facebook Director of Marketing, last October, I noted my impression that Facebook was confidently pursuing its stand alone social media opportunities regardless of external noise about rumored acquisition offers (see “Facebook talks ‘The Real Deal’ in exclusive interview”).


Since that time, Facebook has indeed been steadily, and still confidently, rolling out enhancements to Facebook aimed at encouraging Facebooker engagement (see “Facebook helps students ‘bypass the bookstore’”). 

Facebook has come out of the 2007 gate strong with a new “user-generated TV” initiative in partnership with Comcast’s Ziddio.com. 

Dan Rose, Vice President, Business Development, addressed the Media Summit today in New York City and I sat down with him to discuss the just announced deal with Comcast and how Facebook is faring since it opened its virtual doors beyond the campus last fall. 

Facebook brands itself as the Internet’s leading “social utility.”

Facebook formally describes itself as “helping people better understand the world around them by developing technologies that facilitate the spread of information through social networks.” 

I asked Rose how he defines “social utility” and what makes Facebook the leader in the space. 

Facebook ranks as the seventh-most trafficked site in the United States, according to ComScore's MediaMetrix. Facebook claims 16 million Facebookers, with more than half logging-in daily. Facebook also boasts it is the number one photo sharing site with more than 6 million photos uploaded everyday. 

How does Facebook garner such active usage? 

Rose underscored to me that Facebook considers itself a technology business, not a media business. The way that Facebook was designed and the user tools it offers enables members to communicate with “the world around them” in the ways they want to. Just as people regularly check their email, Facebookers regularly check their Facebook profile for the latest "news." 

Facebook views MySpace as an open “media portal,” while Facebook considers itself a technology platform enabling communication and interaction among networks of trusted friends. 

Is there any other “social utility” play on the Web?  Rose believes the Facebook value proposition is truly unique. 

I asked Rose if any differences have been observed about the way the new non-student Facebookers engage with the site as compared to the original student Facebookers. 

Rose is encouraged that similar behavior patterns are emerging, such as adding information to profiles, developing a network of friends, sharing photos…Facebook believes similar Facebooker activities across age groups validates the Facebook model.

Rose underscored that all Facebookers use Facebook as a conduit to share and consume content. Video sharing is one of the most popular activities and Facebook seeks to develop it even further by offering a chance for Facebookers to “tell their stories on TV,” in partnership with Comcast Interactive Media.

Next month Facebook and Ziddio.com will launch a contest asking Facebookers to submit short video segments about their lives. Facebookers will also be encouraged to upload, view, share and rate the videos. Selected videos will be showcased at Facebook, Ziddio.com and on television.
The “best” submissions will be combined to produce ten half-hour episodes that will air online and on television as a new television series, "Facebook Diaries.”

So let the “poking” begin, on TV.

Editorial standards