I was fortunate to have been asked by the ECPA to make two presentations at the PubU conference in Chicago earlier this week. My first was a session on web communities in publishing and the other was a keynote on blogging. I wish I could have stayed for the entire conference. HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman's keynote the night before mine was very inspiring, especially when she spoke of the various technology initiatives they have underway (e.g., their widgets and content digitization). PubU is an excellent conference and one you should consider attending in the future, btw.
There's one slide in my web communities presentation that still sticks with me. It's an excerpt from this article about Facebook in the November issue of Wired magazine. The article talks about CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vision of Facebook's future. I put the slide on the screen and asked everyone to read it and give it some consideration. Here's what it said:
Imagine if, every time you logged on, you weren't greeted by
NYTimes.com or even a Google News like aggregator, but a collection of
headlines and blog postings, written or handpicked by your closest
friends and relatives. Instead of information spreading hub-and-spoke
like from major media outlets, it would flow to consumers the way it
does at a dinner party, through people they know and trust. The result,
Zuckerberg says, is that "it may no longer be optimal to have a few big
media companies in the center controlling the flow of information."
How true. I encouraged everyone in the room to go tinker with Facebook. Some see Facebook as a fad, this year's MySpace. I don't buy that logic. Zuckerberg made a key strategic decision earlier this year to open Facebook up to third-party application developers. Sure, most apps today are silly time-wasters. It won't be that way forever though. This platform has the potential to be enormous.
I also asked everyone in the room to check and see whether their company is doing anything on Facebook. You ought to ask the same question in your company.