The speed with which technology improves with the passage of time is faster than the speed with which customer needs increase overtime. Thus, technology that earlier met the needs of the masses eventually exceeds the demands of the market. Additionally, technology that earlier serves only to a small number of customers can eventually match needs of mass market (Schilling). Social networking allowed users to build their personal profiles, look for others and communicate both privately and publically. These sites make users locate their online friends and restrict certain information from their friends and sub-groups relating through friends. By the year 2011, social networks were the leading destination for internet users, with 60% of United States internet users had a profile in one or more social networking sites. The popularity and success of Facebook over its competitors have been the result of the Facebook platform which has given users more than any other social media sire. Some of the attractive aspects of the platform are:
Facebook platform has set of tools enabling third-party developers to build applications in the Facebook environment. When a user declares intent for installing an application, in turn application asks the user to access their user profile data, relationships and activities. Also, the ability of posting on user’s profile gave the application opportunity to acquire new users and retain their older users without any added costs (Piskorski et al.).
With the popularity of Facebook Platform, industries were starting to build around them. One such example is of social gaming, especially Zynga. In January 2009, Zynga launched the popular game Farmville that became one of the most played games on Facebook. Zynga leveraged the platform to integrate other social elements in the game (Piskorski et al.).
In 2009, Facebook launched the system of Facebook credits, an online currency that users could exchange for virtual commodities in the Facebook applications. Many users purchased these credits through their Paypal or Credit cards. Eventually, Facebook started selling Facebook credits in brick-and-mortar stores; where users could purchase or redeem them like gift cards (Piskorski et al.).
Cons of Facebook Platform
The Facebook has not been applauded universally as some negative aspects of using the platform have been highlighted overtime. Firstly, only a small number of applications accounts for most usage on Facebook. Most of these applications were developed under the exclusive development agreement before the platform was released. Secondly, applications have been criticized as useless, silly and time wasting virtual toys that are enjoyed by kazillion users who are behaving like children. Thirdly, some of the developers have failed to adhere to the rules of the Facebook platform; this undermines the core of Facebook and angers the users who believed that Facebook is responsible for their virtual privacy. This was highlighted when some users discovered their photos showing up on third-party ads on the social media site. Finally, even after Facebook permitted developers to retain their transactional and advertising revenue. The money generated through these applications is comparatively lower than their actual costs of creating applications (Piskorski et al.).
Facebook has helped many users with expanding or maintain their social life. Users have taken advantages of its functionalities like uploading pictures, sharing important information and engaging applications among many others. The site has been successful in attracting a broad range of cultures and age groups, with majority from outside Canada and United States. Free profiles offered by Facebook have been well used by individuals, companies and other collective interest groups. The biggest reason for their success and popularity is probably the Facebook Platform which attracts around half of the Facebook users to the site.
Schilling, M.A. Strategic Management of Technological Innovation. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008. Print.
Piskorski, M.J., Eisenmann, T.R. & Smith, A. Facebook. Harvard Business School. 2013. Print