Facebook passed the 500 million user mark, this week, according to the company. Well, if truth be told, the official message from the Facebook PR department was that the site had reached 500 users, but we figured that was a typo.
Facebook is currently the top dog in the social networking arena and it looks to have achieved the critical mass that sites like Friendster, MySpace and the rest couldn't quite manage.
I suspect Facebook will one day be supplanted (more of that later), but it's certainly the flavour for the month and we thought we'd look at the pros and cons of the site.
Both Shaun and I are Facebook users, so to speak, but neither of us are particularly happy about being so. Sure it's useful, but there's also something slightly sinister about the reach of the site.
It's staggering to think that more than one in 14 people on the planet now have a Facebook page, if the figures are correct. The benefits of Facebook are also large, so we leave it to you to decide.
Honourable mention: Developer opportunities
Shaun Nichols: When the Facebook developer APIs were first released I have to admit I was a bit sceptical. But the success of Facebook applications cannot be questioned.
The company has turned its user base into a market for social gaming and web-based applications, and small developers are suddenly given the chance to expose their products to hundreds of millions of users. Companies such as Zynga have pretty much based their business model on Facebook games.
Developers are able to capitalise on user traffic through advertising and in-game micro-transactions, while Facebook itself gets to cash in on the extended time users spend on the site.
There are more than a few concerns with the developer platform, and we'll get to that later. But, all in all, the Facebook platform has been a good thing for developers.
Iain Thomson: Opening up the APIs is one of the smartest moves Facebook ever made. This is not to say that the move hasn't had its problems.
Some of my friends are far too keen on inviting me to join them in the latest fad, but a simple mouse stroke solves that issue. In the meantime, developers are making serious money.
There is no single company out there that can provide the breadth of skill and drive that's available in the developer community. To paraphrase Mao's Little Red Book, the smart person builds windmills - not windbreaks - in front of an irresistible force.
5. Social gaming
Shaun Nichols: Bosses everywhere are going to object to this one, but anyone who has got into a Facebook game will agree that they are among the cooler features of the service.
What I find most impressive about Facebook games is that they don't appeal to the hard-core gaming types who demand 3D graphics and 40-hour storylines, but rather the casual users who otherwise don't spend money on computer games. The 'Solitaire' crowd, if you will.
As most marketing types will tell you, the casual gaming crowd is among the fastest growing markets in the games world, and Facebook has a direct pipeline into them.
Iain Thomson: I'd have to differ with you there, Shaun. I suspect there are gamers on Facebook who make your average Dungeons and Dragons player or online clan member look like an unmotivated amateur thanks to the subtlety of the marketing of these games.
Sure, it starts out with a quick game of Scrabulous or a the odd quiz, but games designers today are very skilled at getting into people's heads. I suspect many gamers are going to end up with a monkey on their backs.
Take Farmville, for example. Vast amounts of money are being spent on this game, and I've met one established IT executive (who shall remain nameless) who admitted to rescheduling a meeting so that she could get her crops in without them withering.
I've sampled the game and have to say it makes me worry. For example, you can buy a puppy, but it dies if you don't feed it. The food costs real money, so this seems to be the digital equivalent of 'Pay me or the puppy gets it.'
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