Yes, I'm writing about Facebook again. Yesterday, news broke that the site will be open to ANYONE with an email address, and not just students and faculty. While privacy restrictions will be readily available, this is clearly a step in the MySpace direction.
Up until now, Facebook made smart business decisions that positively affected its users and advertisers. Because their end users do not pay their bills (like a retail site), Facebook has opened its doors to nonprofit groups and political candidates, knowing that mobilizing a young base for these entities could make the world a better place. But now, EVERYONE will be on Facebook, which of course, makes it not as cool.
I asked a teenager about the changes, and she thinks even more people will dump MySpace for Facebook, which some have done for a variety of reasons. Facebook has a cleaner look, doesn't burden you with dating service ads, and easily connects you with friends. And, your parents can't snoop your profile and pictures, even if they're a professor somewhere.
While parents still shouldn't be able to see what pictures and thoughts their students are posting, it seems like once again a decision by Facebook brass has upset its loyal users. Will they jump ship? Time will tell. But, I think that Mark Zuckerberg, who has already made lots of money off of his toy, is getting read to sell. A few months ago, folks were speculating the site could get close to $2 billion on the open market. Now that its potential for eyeballs looking at ads has greatly increased, I can see Mark walking off into the sunset around Christmas time with maybe double that.