We are just beginning to see how social applications will impact the next generation of information workers.
I expect we’ll see the following within the next year:
- Paying for “friends”
- Facebook reputation replacing Ebay reputation
- My Yelp
Two weeks ago I attended a Facebook mini-conference put together by Seth Goldstein’s SocialMedia. Not a single person mentioned opportunities for using Facebook outside a personal context, despite the fact that the room was filled with 50 of the internet’s best minds: partners from Sequoia, Greylock, Charles River Ventures, founders of RockYou, HotOrNot, etc.
Mainstream press and big institutions only mention the negative implications of Facebook in the corporate environment; they claim it is a distraction and a drain on employee productivity.
So far developers have become successful building Facebook apps that let you virtually bite a friend or send someone a virtual beer. I think this will change. These silly apps are creating 30 seconds of entertainment value, where future apps will have implications for billion dollar markets like investing, recruiting, information sharing, and sales lead generation.
Paying for “friends”
A new YC company, SocialPicks.com, should be leveraging the Facebook platform. They probably will. Social Picks allows you to find stock recommendations and follow successful investors. I can imagine an investor “friending” people for a subscription fee. After becoming the investor’s friend you have access to his stock picks. If you see that four of your friends are following Ken Fisher’s stock advice, you might be more willing to purchase his services. This stuff works on the real internet, why wouldn’t it work just as well or better on the Facebook enabled social internet. Cramer, you should be doing this! You could make Mad Money!
Facebook reputation replacing Ebay reputation
Give it time, but a Facebook powered Ebay competitor has the potential to steal that deeply entrenched market. Reputation is everything when you are selling online, and Facebook will own reputation, because all of your friends are watching.
You could make a seriously successful personalized service recommendation engine within Facebook. It would be like Yelp, powered by people you know. People trust the opinions of their friends. If you are making a decision about a doctor, or a restaurant for a fancy date, Facebook can connect you to the opinions of your friends.
Our company’s accountant gave me four business cards after our meeting the other day. He thanked me for referring him to a new client and asked me to give his cards to others. I’m Facebook friends with the founders of no less than 40 companies. I get asked for recommendations to lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers, and insurance brokers almost every week. Just think if this information was all in Facebook; I wouldn’t have four business cards cluttering my desk.