Facebook going “public”

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Looking for the jackpot, Facebook has decided to make its 40 million members public, as USA Today reports (see mashable for more intersting commentary). If Facebook members don’t adjust their privacy settings, they will find themselves unwittingly listed on line on the various mega search engines (Google, MSN Search…). Of course, the idea is to get Facebook to become even more mainstream. Now I can understand why founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has been holding off on going public or accepting any buyout offer. He is aiming for the big leagues, not some piddly $1B or $2B as has been mentioned variously.

Fortunately, one has to assume, Facebook members will be still be able to choose with whom they buddy up with to share the various random functionalities (drinks, vampire bits and more). As far as I am concerned, anything you put on line can be exposed — I have been maintaining that you are or will become your on-line presence. But, for some, this exposure will undoubtedly be a shock — and there will obviously be some fallout. On balance, I expect this move to be a success for Facebook — its internal search function is just going public.

Facebook is a great tool. And the ability to link up with random and/or old friends into sometimes amorphous groups according to your interests is wonderful. The “methods of contacts” (booze mail, zombies, super wall, post-its…) are highly original although surely they will eventually run out of steam. And, it is only logical that Facebook becomes integrated into marketing plans — it is called web 2.0 making money.

So, if you are a member and are scared of having your name on line, change your Facebook privacy settings. Otherwise, sit back and watch Zuckerberg make a handy dollar or two (unless his Harvard classmates manage to eke out some of the dough in a lawsuit for allegedly stealing the idea.)

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