Why Facebook Did *Not* Release Their Platform Last Night

It’s all over the web right now that Facebook supposedly “released their platform last night”. I want to clarify the situation – Facebook did not release their platform last night! What Facebook did release, as the title of their announcement states, is a Javascript Client API library for Facebook.

First, let’s discuss what a platform is. A platform is simply this – an interface to a major website or operating system, of which Software Developers can write their own software for. Back in May, Facebook opened their platform for developers. They have also announced plans to license their platform to third party websites at one point in the future. However, after last nights release of a javascript library, I still do not have the capability to let other Facebook developers write applications, using the same architecture (think Bebo) as Facebook on my own website.

What Facebook released last night is simply a client-based API (that loads into the user’s memory) which has access to access Facebook Data for an application that already exists on Facebook’s systems. I am still tied to Facebook with this, it requires an application API key like all other APIs, and nothing has changed. In fact, the Javascript library is even more limited than the other, server-side APIs, in that I cannot upload Photos with the Javascript library like I can, say, in PHP or Perl.

What you can do is have access to an existing application on Facebook’s servers, and tie your external website to that application. This has always been the case with the Facebook API, and will continue to be in the future. iLike uses this with their iTunes application. We’re Related uses this in their registration process on the FamilyLink.com site. It’s just you can now do it in Javascript.

I was going to blog on this last night when the announcement came out, but the announcement last night does mean something significant. It means Facebook is starting to compete with OpenSocial. OpenSocial, a javascript-based library currently, gives you access to a library of friends on a single social network, only requiring static html to access that API, just like Facebook’s new API library does. What OpenSocial has that Facebook doesn’t however, is what they term the “Apache Shindig Project”. Shindig is a truly open platform, which does allow you to allow your own users to create their own apps on your site only, and even share them with other Shindig-supported websites.

I repeat – Facebook is not there yet! The announcement last night means Facebook is closer to competing with OpenSocial, but they are still just as closed as they have always been.

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Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called SocialToo.com which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

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