Facebook recently announced that its member base is growing at the fastest rate ever, just after it displaced Google to become the top U.S. web site by total number of Web pages viewed (and after studies indicated that Facebook is the most frequently accessed Web site by workers on the job! But that’s another discussion).
Facebook made the announcement as part of a rollout of new features, applications and Pages intended to link the social networking platform more tightly with outside Web sites and better connect users according to their interests, affiliations and favorite activities.
The company says the goal is nothing short of World-Wide-Web domination by making Facebook the center of the increasingly socially-connected internet by making it easier for other websites to share information across Facebook’s user base of more than 400 million people.
“We’re building toward a Web where the default is social, every application and product will be designed from the ground up to use real identity,” said the company’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg at a technology conference in San Francisco.
One key feature to look out for is the widespread ability for Facebook users to click on a “Like” button on external web sites to share information on their Facebook profiles in a better way than the “share” button most sites have been using.
In exchange, those sites, such as CNN.com, ESPN.com, Yelp and Pandora, are allowed to display on their Web sites the number of people who have “Liked” their content. As usual, Facebook is ruffling feathers over privacy concerns, but the company argues that people will actually be sharing less personal information this way.
This follows several significant changes to Facebook “Fan” Pages, which are probably the single most important social networking tool for organizations to have a presence on today.
Facebook users are no longer asked to become “Fans” of pages for the organizations and brands they support, but instead to “Like” them. It’s a subtle distinction that Facebook believes will greatly increase users participation and interaction with company Pages.
In addition, Facebook has created new “Community Pages,” which are “dedicated to a topic or experience that is owned collectively by the community connected to it.” Like official Pages for businesses and organizations, Community pages will connect people who share similar passions, interests and experiences. TechCrunch explains here.
Facebook says that Community pages are meant to be “the best collection of shared knowledge on a topic.” Community pages are currently in Beta (sort of a test-phase) and users are not allowed to add content to the pages. Instead, Facebook is inviting users to apply to add content to any of the 6.5 million community pages it has setup on topics such as Cooking, Cycling and Hiking.
As TechCrunch points out, Facebook is obviously still figuring out how Community Pages will work. But I definitely see potential for the idea and I think it’s something that the ChangingAging community should be a part of. I will be monitoring for an opportunity to create a ChangingAging Community page, but until then, please “Like” our Facebook page in the left column!