2013-01-16

$FB's copywriters have been busy

Graph Search? It's a rebranding exercise. There, I called it.
If they honestly think it's a product move, then it's an act of desperation, or naivete. Which is worse. I also have been short $FB in the run up to their January 2013 earnings call, because I've been guessing that the October 2012 earnings call had its numbers pumped, for boringly obvious reasons. But all that is another story.
Search was always there. I worked for two years, 2009-2010, for a friend who has been wanting to build an online social network. This particular company started about the same time as Yammer, with the same target audience, but it made the decision to go broad, and aim somewhere between where the 2013 version of MySpace has launched, a full-blown social-layered multimedia CMS, and semantic search for personal/professional data on employees. As far as I'm aware, sales didn't move a cent the whole time I was there, but I wasn't in sales, and don't know for sure, so let's just say that whatever they're doing now, I didn't get to see them take off.

Search is the obvious point of monetisation for any online social network that doesn't have a horde of users. It's obvious, if you have the slightest inkling of what business intelligence does in a large corporation. It's just like what people do in their daily lives, when they talk to people who work for them, or to their neighbours, in higher resolution, with higher rigour, and essentially more quantification. And automation - but as we all know, varying degrees of automation in the querying of meaty humans still get you varying degrees of qualitative value.

Search is part of the giant civilisational revolution of "us," the meat, getting "them," the machines, to do our thinking for us. Data, is analysis, is intelligence, is knowledge, is wisdom, is goods and services, is money... you get the idea, I mean, the IDEAL, about where we're going with all of this.

Search was in $FB on day one. Search was in $FB when $FB was Facemash. I joined $FB's network the first time when I was in college, at a NESCAC school where I got a BA in 2005. Since then, I've deleted my $FB account twice, once for a lack of utilty from the service around 2006, and once for a lack of control over my data in 2012. I remember.

Search was there. Hell, it was in Friendster, the first MMOSN. Which strangely enough, had its product obliterated then sold for pennies to a company in Malaysia, where I'm from.

Search was what made Friendster truly, anthropologically, interesting. I surfed Friendster's unwalled graph of early users, through tribes of various deviances. And it was amazing to be able to see each strange tribe of users, culturally identified among its members.

Search is not a revolutionary product. For $FB to position it as such is not groundbreaking. It simply signals where $FB wants itself to be vis-a-vis the competition. I think $FB is a great product, and a maturing company, with a bright future, but "search," for what it's worth, is only the latest effort to copywright away the harsher sounding nature of what $FB has been forced to become.

The sale of meaty data.

Update: Now VOIP is an innovation? Refer to block quote above.

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