WSJ more Web 2.0 than Facebook, the author must be on drugs…
While this sounds crazy on the surface, there is some truth to it. If you follow the Web 2.0 world, you’re aware that Facebook has been having some problems lately. Their audience numbers have been leveling off, and more importantly their users are spending less time in their groups. I don’t have hard evidence to back up my “activity” claim, but I do have 2 teenagers. I’ve asked them about Facebook, along with several of their friends, and the consensus opinion is that its not that interesting. I suspect this is because a successful group requires care and feeding, and more importantly patience. Facebook isn’t about instant gratification, its about growing communties of common interest. So, it’s no wonder that my teenagers find it dull, like most teenagers “NOW” is what matters.
So what does this have to do with WSJ? Well if Facebook is about communities of common interest, then you’d think its a great forum for business. You could have wide area groups that look at whole industries, or small groups that are concerned with a single project. Shouldn’t business users be beating a path to Facebooks door? I think they aren’t because the value add is controlled entirely by Facebook… they won’t let 3rd parties utilize the content to build out new applications. WSJ on the other hand has done a full 180 and completely opened up their content stream and gone with an advertising model. Companies can now leverage the WSJ content to make it better and more useful for everyone. Users are still directed back to WSJ to read the full story, so they are getting their traffic, but they’ve opened up their content to a world of application developers.
Read Facebooks content usage policy and you’ll see that Facebook is taking a very old world view of content (it’s ours). While its clearly a stretch to call WSJ a Web 2.0 company because they don’t really facilitate collaboration, they have at least realized that letting a million developers that you don’t have to pay for build apps for your content will drive more revenue to you through increased traffic than will with a few thousand overworked employees.