It’s not about the $1 Billion

$1 Billion. It all came as a bit of a shock, out of left field. Everyone shouted and screamed, concerned that Instagram would be folded under and into facebook. Rightfully so if you’re sitting on the fence about facebook acquisition strategy never mind a fan of Instagram itself which many people are. It is argued that Instagram isn’t worth $1 Billion, a company with no  revenue. What has come out since the announcement regarding the quick fire negotiating between twitter / Instagram and facebook / Instagram.

Putting that aside for the moment, let me suggest that Mark Zuckerberg might have paid $2 Billion for Instagram and still not folded it directly in to facebook. Let me further suggest that now the $1 Billion purchase has happened he won’t for the foreseeable future folding it into facebook.

Looking at a small amount of facts;

  • Instagram is a very strong team, they scaled Instagram to an incredible user base with an incredibly small team.
  • Instagram now have an incredibly strong design team.
  • The majority of the Gowalla team was merged in to Facebook, they were also a very strong mobile team with great talent. (Gowalla was an incredibly good product in the early days – my opinion)
  • Facebook timeline apps are becoming more and more popular.

The Timeline

Predominantly, the timeline is made up of visible content from other sources. Video’s from youtube, music from Spotify, food photos from foodspotting and photos of anything from Instagram and these are just a few. If we look at textual posts, we can pretty much post to facebook from anywhere. ‘Our’ timeline is made up of content from auxiliary apps.

Zuckerberg also said his $1 Billion purchase was probably a one-off and wouldn’t become a habit. $1 Billion purchases might be one-off’s but I can see Facebook buying up experience apps to push to the timeline. It’s those auxiliary apps which make up the pieces of your life. And the more Facebook buys up, the more your life will be complete on the timeline. If all of the experience apps pushing to facebook just stopped for one day, how quiet would people’s timelines be?

NB: This post came from a conversation @alexhorre and I had.

Is there a privacy debate?

Late last year I ventured out to TEDx Newcastle, it was an amazing event organised by the guys at Codeworks, I’ve since joined their team.

They’re an amazing bunch and can nail content for events like nothing I’ve seen before. One of the talks was by Chris Stainthorpe of the B Group Creative Agency. Chris talked about privacy and the debate behind data being publicly available without people knowing it. I was intrigued by his talk, more so because of the feedback he was getting from the crowd. It seemed like shock-and-awe as they realised unless they changed their privacy settings that their info was widely available to the general public on the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn etc.

I was reminded about the debate this morning when checking the Technology area of news.bbc.co.uk and finding two articles relating to privacy issues with Google and Facebook. It brought me back to my opinion on privacy at the time of listening to Chris at TEDx Newcastle.

Surely in this day and age people are aware of identity fraud and ridiculous scams online. Putting that together with Facebook and other social networks, surely people must realise that whatever they write or publish is then quite clearly and obviously public knowledge. We’ve all heard stories of people saying the wrong thing on social networks and then being reprimanded at work because of it.

I personally think there is no privacy debate at all. If we put privacy in the control of the user then clearly tell them what is visible when they’re signing up, surely then it is down to them and not the social app which they’re using?

Why do we have to keep discussing what should and shouldn’t be allowed. What we can and what we cannot show? Give the power to the people and let them choose. Surely?

Spymaster – Viral Marketing or Viral Spam?

If anyone has been using Twitter a lot over the past couple of days you will have noticed a load of @spymaster links popping up all over. Spymaster is a new online game based around the backgrounds of Twitter. A spy game where you can recruit, play and attempt assassination of your other twitter followers or twitter users.

Now, its been a twitter trending topic for most of two days so you can imagine the extent of users now playing the game.

The PROBLEM I have with it

Don’t get me wrong, I think the game could quite happily help me pass a bit of time and it’s one of your typical online games which becomes highly addictive and you’ve got to force yourself away from it BUT it also forces messages through twitter and that’s just not cricket. Fair play to viral marketing but god damn it’s annoying and just not needed when it comes to games in twitter.

If games carry on being used with the Twitter API and forcing messages into everyone’s Twitter streams it’ll end up like Facebook’s Apps/Games and by christ are they damn annoying. If I didn’t want to keep in touch with so many people I would have closed my facebook account a long time ago purely because of “event invites”, “apps” and “games” because I REALLY don’t care that you want to play poker with me.

So my final words are, please Twitter, take the crap out of yourself. Stay Twitter and never go down the Facebook road. It’s just not needed.

I didn’t want to link to spymaster in fear that more people would sign up to it, but thought for the people that didn’t know what I was talking about I would need to.

Check out Techcrunch’s – Spy vs Spy – The spymaster backlash begins and twitter needs to fix it post