I have writing a blog now for almost 2 years. From time to time get comments, sometimes an email (or even an old fashioned phone call, usually from Elie Wurtman) complimenting me on a blog posting. The feedback is nice, reminds me that I am not only writing for myself (which I am) but also for others.
While I am not the world's greatest fan of Facebook, or its bloated valuation, it definitely has created a public commons, a place where people feel free to express their opinions. Perhaps, like Wikipedia, it should be turned into a massive non-profit. Throw a search box in there, share the ad revenues with Google et al, will definitely be enough to cover costs of operation (like the Mozilla browser).
What prompts my thoughts on this? Well, was on a super boring conference call a few days ago, and was fiddling around with Facebook and decided to write something in the "status" box. I wrote that I was waiting for President Obama's speech to start, and that I hoped he would "say the right thing." That launched a debate (on my rather vague status update) which currently has more than 19 comments. More than any blog posting I have written, and the comments are well thought out, whole paragraphs, not just a few words here and there.
Incredible. As always, proves that people have way too much free time, but also that a simple to use interface, which will guarantee "exposure" will be enough for many to write and write. And it is somewhat unmoderated. As long as you are a "friend" of mine you could comment to anything I throw up on my facebook page. and yet for the most part the self moderation works...not too much abuse, language is kept in check, little outright digital vandalism.
Facebook has developed as a powerful medium, and I am not sure if it is yet at the peak of its power (we will have to see how its kissing cousin, Twitter, develops), but it certainly is no closer to developing a real business than a year ago. And perhaps that's OK, if Marc Zuckerberg gives up on dreams of billions of dollars, and instead decides to donate facebook to the people. He is young, I am sure he will figure something else out to make sure he gets his riches. And/or he could donate it with the caveat that he gets a $X million a year salary for 10 years, enough to feel that he has real money, but far short of Sergei like riches.
If any of you know Marc, pass this thought on to him. From an ego point of view, he did it. Now he needs to decide where to go from here. Meanwhile I am thinking up my next creative status update....