Facebook Uber Alles
While only the sentiment of the article title from the Dead Kennedy's punk anthem may be the same, the announcement by Facebook that it had 500 million users alone means that it seems everyone wants a slice of the Facebook kudos and any associated action.
It should be noted that Facebook is not the only social media application around and the fate of fellow competitors like Bebo illustrates that while a company's social media star will rise it may also fall. Recent well publicised criticism of Facebook's security policy seems not to have dented its burgeoning user base.
Facebook is also doing their bit, enabling users to sign in to sites with Facebook connect, meaning that a user can bypass yet another login process. Amazon are the latest web giant to integrate this offering, even though there are plans afoot for its demise.
To the online business, aligning yourself with at least a Facebook page appears the very least you can do for your users, if not going ahead and building a Facebook application.
There is a risk in a business simply posting a Facebook presence and expecting this to magically increase product awareness and result in increased sales. Facebook pages bearing the names of products and services hovering statically with around 200 users increase all the time as companies promote a Facebook presence and in terms of brand awareness it can do no harm, or can it?
A user navigating to a Facebook product page that has not been updated for a number of months may not have any influence on a purchasing decision and could leave an impression of a product who's star is on the wane. This could be particularly true in the case of technology products where currency is often heralded above practical application and any associated flaws - is that a signal from you're iphone or did you not get my call that I was coming to meet you?
Does this mean that you should avoid Facebook? Of course not, though to what extent a business should position software integration, build brand reliance and develop future strategy around Facebook's existing and future presence would be best addressed on a case by case basis.