I knew Justin Smith over at Inside Facebook was a pretty smart guy, but he just blew me out of the water with his recent post Facebook News Feed Optimization (NFO) is the new SEO. It's effin' brilliant.
If you thought my piece last week on Marketing Facebook Apps was anywhere close to on target, then you better darn well read his stuff... it's a hundred times more thoughtful than my earlier analysis. And his thoughts on optimizing the News Feed as a parallel to search engine optimization are right on target.
I expect we will quickly see a whole new viral metrics & viral marketing optimization industry emerge due to social networking (if not Facebook exclusively), mirroring the rise of SEM/SEO over the past 5 years due to Google & Yahoo. I bet Slide & RockYou & HotOrNot & Ning are looking at it closely.
What is blowing me away on all of this is that it's happening at lightspeed: this stuff has come down in just the past 3-6 months. When i went to a Facebook open house back in February, i had the barest inkling of what was about to happen. Since the launch of Platform under a few months ago, the world has turned upside down. Every startup, VC, and platform company i talk to has Facebook on the brain (or if they don't, they've got their head up their ass). There are 25 apps on Facebook with 1M+ users, and ~100 apps with over 100,000 users. Renkoo's business model went from dustbin to greenfield in less than 3 weeks (Booze Mail is at 350,000 users as of this morning). The blogosphere has exploded with discussions on Facebook in the past few weeks. I had my highest traffic blog week ever last week... by a factor of five. It's incredible.
I've been talking to people lately about how Facebook Platform is the most important thing that's happened on the Internet in the past five years, possibly the past ten... surpassing the development of AdWords and the birth of social networking in general. People sort of look at me like i'm stoned / crazy, but i don't think so (okay, maybe the latter... but i quit toking over 20 years ago). Now we're about to see it get even more amazing. The emergence of a whole ecosystem of new apps built on the social graph is just over the horizon.
We're not in the middle of Bubble 2.0 -- rather, we're in the middle of Renaissance 2.0. Northern California is Italy. Palo Alto is Florence. San Francisco is Venice. Sequioa Capital (or Peter Thiel & Reid Hoffman) are the Medicis. Ev, Biz, Ben, Mena, Matt & Toni are the Gutenbergs. And Mark Zuckerburg is Da Vinci. Bene, molto bene :)