Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Why Facebook Wins

It’s one of those things that is questionable ethically, but unfortunately the matter is just not covered by the law. Mark Zuckerburg, of Facebook founder fame, is getting sued by several old classmates who say that he stole their idea. From the stories, I’d say it looks like he did, but personally, I take an ideas-are-free stance on this. In fact, I don’t think patents should be issued unless there is a functioning prototype, not vaporware. Getting a patent should be about investing the time and energy into making an invention work, not just thinking of it. I mean, after all, even Edison said that success was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. I think the perspiration should be rewarded.

I also think the suit is really off the mark because it is utterly beside the point that Facebook has created a social-networking site. Been there, done that. What facebook has managed to do, that no other web site has, is create an intersite applications platform. Even now, as I post this, on my own blog, on my own server, this post is being injected into my Facebook news feed via the awesome Wordbook plugin. It turns out to be a dynamite way to update your friends about your blog. ((I’ve always felt that an email list was just too intrusive)) Perhaps that sounds trivial, but intersite networking through web service APIs is a good chunk of the future of the web. Some folks call it the mashup for short. ((Intersite web service API networking application is such a ridiculous phrase, it would probably net you $100,000 from a VC if you had the balls to say it in front of one.)) The mashup is one thing, establishing a site where regular non-coder folks can essentially create their own mashup page is why you should head over to the Yahoo Buzz Market and buy some Facebook shares. And if they ever go public, they’d be a pretty good real stockmarket bet too.

« Previously: