The future of publishing has been on rickety foundations ever since increasing use of the internet to consume and create media has been eating away at traditional distribution vehicles. Whilst some brands have hid behind pay walls, taken up Apples offer of in-app purchases or simply refused to move online, Washington Post and The Guardian where 2 of the first to benefit from Facebook’s explosive new Open Graph to create apps within their platform. Launched at their F8 conference on September 22nd, the new framework makes social sharing a more passive and ubiquitous experience that has tickled the armpits of many a we’re-all-going-to-die-through-lack-of-privacy fear monger but introduced a new kind of real-time media consumption serendipity within the social network environment.
Further breaking down the character that we wish to portray online and the character we really are, there’s no need to hit share or like to notify your Facebook friends what you’re currently reading. Facebook from the start has been a place that’s shunned anonymity, forcing people to use their real names and details and punishing those that don’t. Although people fear this is an encroachment on their privacy, it’s obvious that the current generation of youngsters don’t have the same concept or concerns of the issue and continue to reap the benefits of opening themselves up online as they do offline.
Apple looked like they’d run away with the creation of iTunes and its dominance in content distribution over the last decade or so. What impresses me about Facebook’s new changes is that they don’t try to redefine their product or stance, but rather to incorporate it into their philosophy and platform in an almost altruistic way. Whereas Google create their own social network or music store, Facebook decided to use its expertise in letting people share experiences online with Spotify’s comprehensive music catalogue. Currently at around 7million users, you can’t help but argue that this has done much to expand Spotify’s market and increase the amount of time users will now spend within Facebook, I myself have noticed a huge uptake of Spotify amongst my own friends since the F8 conference. The Guardian’s Open Graph app is currently at a 0.8million users and Washington Post’s reached over 1 million users in 3 weeks, as documented in the graph below:
So, does Facebook pose a viable threat to Apple’s content ecosystem? It’s hard to ignore its potential to drive a considerable audience size in a small period of time, but as to whether Facebook can challenge the experience that Apple apps offer is yet to be decided.