In Norway, the Facebook networking site has had an amazing amount of press coverage recently – I think I recall two tabloid front page stories during the last two weeks. Well, I've had friends nagging me to sign up for anything since SixDegrees.com onwards and am a rather passive member of several networking sites (truth be told I've mostly registered only to test if they work well in Opera) so another fad would appear to be the last thing I needed..
Last night with rather low expectations (along the lines of Friendster's ugly wannabe-Napster-cool graphics or still-just-can't-stand-their-colour-scheme Orkut) I typed facebook.com in the URL field just to see it.. and, well, even on the web there is such a thing as trust at first sight! A quick-loading presentation page with a brief and well worded presentation (bet they spent a lot of time shortening the text to achieve that brevity) and hardly an image anywhere!!!
So, I've found the Google Search of social networking. And that's a major compliment. It has this un-branded, natural feel Google had from the first time it replaced AltaVista as my web tool of choice (and still somewhat retains).
Nowadays when I'm constantly being Advertised to, Classified by marketeers and Branded by logo-crammed clothes and accessories, I don't trust anyone. Well, I do – but trust depends on not feeling that somebody is using all the tricks in the branding book to Sell me something. When a product has "what you see is what you get" all over it and clearly expects you to make an intelligent choice about using it based on its technical merit – how can you not trust it?
Exploring the "about us" blog and news section before deciding to sign up, I first stumbled across a blog post on Facebook's contributions to PHP. Who in the Facebook target audience is going to understand that geeky gibberish?? How come they post it anyway? Don't they have a marketing department teaching them how to simplify and underestimate customers into target groups? Hey, how great is that!!
And finally a fastcompany.com news article on the founders – man, they have a vision and it isn't for sale for insane amounts of cash. Well, by now I'm sold…
So, getting me to trust a website isn't terribly hard after all.. Facebook just pushed the right buttons. I've registered with my personal E-mail address (something I rarely do) and one of my harder-to-guess passwords (yes, I do use the same password everywhere – for sites I don't care about and believe I will never put important information inside). And for once I've registered with a site I really intend to use. We'll see if it lasts, but I hope so 🙂