He noticed that nearly every huge brand advertising during the Superbowl presented the URL for their Facebook fan page. They didn’t bother showing the URL for the company site. He believes this trend is a fundamental shift in the way people use the Internet, noting that some companies have redirected their URLs to their Facebook pages. He and some of the commenters on his post implied that since Facebook is so popular, it practically IS the Internet and traditional web pages are on their way to irrelevancy.
With so many innovative, inexpensive tools pouring into the marketplace, I have often wondered if designers/developers are developing themselves right out of their jobs. So, my first thought was to agree with Ryan. Then I panicked a bit because if Facebook becomes the only URL you need, why do businesses need a web professional like myself? They can almost do it themselves. There are even free and cheap tools to help business people with no development skills customize their Facebook pages.
Of course this is fatalistic and an oversimplification.
Just A Trend
I then found a more realistic assessment of the changing Internet climate in a post by Paul Sprangers titled “Is Facebook Now the Internet?” He falls more on the side of Facebook being a trend that will peak and eventually decline. With over 500 million users, businesses would be silly not to try tapping Facebook’s base of loyal users.
“Facebook won’t go away, but [neither will] company websites. Facebook is all the rage right now and rightfully so. I love Facebook, but no matter how you look at it, it’s still a website. And every website has it’s limitations. And the great Internet, which has given us means to spread knowledge, to entertain, to do new business and stuff we can’t even imagine yet can’t fit within limitations. Facebook can help us achieve goals, but it is not the goal itself.“
Step back and take look at the bigger picture and you’ll see more evidence that Facebook’s user base, while impressive, still has a ways to go before we can call the trend a fundamental shift.