Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is a contributor to TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil.
Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. Indeed, great things can come from this, and for many of its one billion users, Facebook isn’t just on the web — it is the web. It is where images, biographical data, and every speck of a connection to a person, place, or thing lives, both the dream of a doting family spread miles apart and a marketer close by. It is a place where generations of people now reside, hang out, fawn over public statuses and peek into the lives of others. Ironically, while Facebook’s aim is to make the world more open, they themselves are building a new web within their own closed garden, inaccessible and (mostly) unexportable to all. As the saying states, “what goes on the Internet is written in ink,” so what goes onto Facebook is etched in stone walls.
Yes, much of Facebook’s traffic comes from mobile now, too. For most people who don’t care about all the latest and greatest apps, Facebook works splendidly for them, simply yet powerfully connecting them to exercise the habits they’ve picked up on the web version. Yet, at the same time, mobile platforms (phones and tablets) have presented newer and younger audiences with new graphs of people, folks whose first computing device may have been of the latest iPod touches (complete with Facetime), folks who live in other countries with exploding mobile growth adoption curves. As working professionals have come to use the Internet to help define, cement, and reinforce their perceptions of their own identities, younger generations in search of their own identity can use a battery of new services and mobile apps which containerize their activities, isolating them from the permanence of the web, a permanence embodied by the likes of Facebook and Google+.