James Cridland

Facebook. Goodness. It’s good.

A friend of mine registers on all the social networking sites, just to ensure he keeps his online identity blemish-free. I agree with that, and on MySpace I have one friend, Tom, and that’s all. (I’ll reject you, so don’t!)

However, after someone I didn’t consider particularly geeky let me know that she had a Facebook page this afternoon, I thought I’d try it. And goodness. It’s good.

For example, I was asked, when I registered, whether I might like to check my Gmail contacts. I did. It found a bunch of proper friends I had, and handled it in a professional, friendly way.

It’s a social networking site that just works for geeks. I can read my friends’ “notes” (Facebook parlance for blog entries, kind of) via RSS within Google Reader. I saw this and didn’t like the prospect of another blog to update, but - guess what - this blog now gets imported directly into Facebook. And there’s a full developer section, with a full and fearsome API, to allow all manner of interesting things.

And it’s a social networking site that looks great. Really clever bits (like “The next step”, to hand-hold you through what to do next on the site), made to look simple and easy. It’s quick, and it looks nice. It’s both simple, and incredibly feature-rich. It’s really, really, really good.

Compare with MySpace, which apart from looking like a dog’s breakfast and with a user-interface that must give Jakob Nielsen, nightmares, simply works terribly. Example from tonight: when I tried logging in with an incorrect password, the error message was “You have to be logged in to do that!”

If I was staying with Virgin for a little longer, the first thing I’d be doing is using that API to allow Virgin Radio VIPs to interface directly with FaceBook, and both import their ‘notes’ into the Virgin Radio site, or explain how to export their blog postings into FaceBook. I’d not be losing control of our VIPs, but enabling them to bring their FaceBook friends into Virgin Radio, too.

I’m really quite flabbergasted at what a splendid site it is; and I might finally have found a social networking site that I like: because it’s both simple and fully-featured, giving me the tools, as an advanced user, to do what I want to do wth it. Bravo, team.

Note from the future: This was, um, naive.