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Thoughts on the Facebook “Event”

Posted by Ernie on July 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm

By my use of sarcastic quotes in the title, I suppose you can surmise that my general opinion is that the Facebook “Something Awesome” event, wasn’t. Group text chat, a new design, and Skype integration? Seriously?

First, Facebook’s partnership with Skype to deliver one-on-one video chat (the Zuck equivalent of a “one more thing”) is already overshadowed by Google+ Hangouts.

Perhaps more importantly, the event underscored to me just how hard it is to pull off a media event that packs the punch of an Apple event without a CEO who’s as on top of his game as Steve Jobs. Perhaps Zuck would have done better to call in Jesse Eisenberg to reprise his role from The Social Network, because the real thing was just not cutting it out on the stage.

At no point was this more obvious than during the Q&A Session, where first, Zuck demeans his new partner, Skype’s CEO, Tony Bates, claiming “now that they’re owned by Microsoft, there’s a sense of stability there.” You know, because Facebook has a storied history of stability and profitability. Not to mention the fact that Bates quickly had to point out to Zuck that the purchase hasn’t even closed yet.

And when asked about group video chat, and what he thought of Google+ Hangouts? A claim that most video chat is one-on-one, and that the real draw of video chat is these “intimate” one-on-one interactions. A position which might — might — have been tenable if it had been suggested by anyone other than the CEO of the company that has done everything in its power to opt its users into sharing everything with everyone.

In short, my takeaway from this “event”: My fingers are crossed for Google+. It’s the most promising thing I’ve seen in this space in a long time. Speaking of, feel free to , if you’re on Google+ already.

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