For quite some time now, I have been curious about the phenomenon known as Facebook. As a subscriber to Business 2.0 magazine, the last issue (September 2007) had an interesting article titled 'The Facebook Economy' which really grabbed my attention. It described the Facebook platform and the potential business oppportunities which have been revealed by the launch of the open Facebook API. Since I draw many parallels between Web 2.0 social networks and Open Source projects ( and also because I have a deep respect for Kevin Efrusy from Accel Partners who invested in Facebook ), I decided to take a deeper look at Facebook.
First I created my very own Facebook Profile and added a few Friends. The first thing which struck me is that the application very closely mirrored a web application I wrote way back in 2000. This was the origin of the 'Perpetual Motion' company name. My application was originally intended to help friends and family connect online, share pictures, events, and private messages. It had the basics concepts of users associating with other users ( including a powerful viral aspect which even Facebook does not provide ). I still have the original code written in Classic ASP, COM, and SQL Server. Unfortunately, the technology was really not scalable back in 2000 and the application was never used outside of my own family. The second thing I noticed is that 'social networks' like Facebook are dominated by women ( my first 5 friend requests came from female acquaintances ). I guess this makes sense since women are far more social beings than men. However my main purpose for experimenting with Facebook was to experience the development environment firsthand, create an application, and determine how Facebook could integrate with the DotNetNuke platform.
Last weekend I created my first simple Facebook application ( using Nikhil Kothari's highly useful Facebook.NET library - http://www.codeplex.com/FacebookNET ) . Although the Facebook environment was rather confusing and quite limiting in terms of what you could implement using Fbml ( Facebook custom markup ), the IFrame capability was powerful and definitely had some integration potential with DotNetNuke. My first application did not take very long to write or deploy, and I was definitely pleased with the result.
My Facebook experiment is still not complete as I need to submit my Application for approval and inclusion in the Facebook directory ( which requires 5 active users of the application to be eligible ). Through experiments with the Facebook, I am hoping to acquire a greater understanding of social networks and social application developers, which I believe are critical to the future of the DotNetNuke platform.
Facebook users can check out my application by following this link: