February 25, 2020

The Future of Facebook

For the last few years I have consistently and openly discussed the longterm objectives of Facebook and it nearly always falls on deaf ears; the future of Facebook is business, not personal. Of course it will be a combination of the two but it certainly won’t be centered on games, poking and stalking ex’s.

At the risk of being accused of over simplification, the first version of the Internet was solitary; I could go to ESPN.com to get the Yankees score and no one knew about it (other than ESPN).

The second version of the Internet (the ‘social Web’) makes our online activity community based; now if I go to ESPN.com to get the Yankees score I can ‘like’ that they are beating the Red Sox, add a “Got Rings?” comment and with that one click tell thousands of friends and followers what I’m doing and what I’m thinking about in real time.

But this is still so basic. We really are at the very beginning of the socialization of business and we should all expect to see far better integration via all online properties.

Whenever I describe the future of Facebook I always use the Yankees and secondarily books as my examples. Part of this is because I love both of them but I have always thought books are the better example because they are a global commodity. I describe how one day I will log into Facebook to buy a book from Amazon. Not Amazon.com but the Amazon store inside Facebook. Why go to two Websites when I can do everything via one?

I focus on Amazon for another reason; they were one of the first companies to introduce a community based mechanism with reviews. By allowing us to provide our thoughts on a particular book, conversation changed from the then traditional business to client model to one of client to client to business. This predated nearly every social Website, tool and service we now use.

Amazon.com has taken another step, one that gives my prediction an even better chance of becoming a reality, with their roll-out of tighter integration with Facebook. Although still in beta it’s indicative of how we should expect to do business in future years. Amongst other things we can now see our Facebook friends birthdays while on Amazon.com – an incentive to buy? The wish list has a few kinks that need ironing out but this is a very interesting step in business and social integration.

Image Source: businessinsider.com

Image Source: businessinsider.com

And so to Realtors, who perhaps more than anyone (certainly more than most) need to take note. Allan Dalton has long spoken about the sad but true fact that home owners looking for property related advice will talk to neighbors and financial planners well before ever talking to a Realtor. That conversation is increasingly taking place online which means one thing; you have to place yourself in that conversation.

Before you respond in the negative understand you are increasingly in the minority.

Ultimately ‘social’ anything, be it networking, marketing or media will not be described as ‘social’. Just think about the word ‘cyber’ – it seems so last decade. The ‘e’ in eCommerce will follow it (if it hasn’t already) and we should expect ‘social’ to become meaningless; our lives will become significantly, possibly predominantly, integrated online making use of the word ‘social’ pointless.

One last thought; to most consumers the Internet is only 16 years old. Think about that for a moment. Since 1995 pagers and PDA’s have come and gone and we now take mobile phones and satellite navigation for granted. The next 15 years will see even greater change; do you think it will have us doing more business online?


  1. “Before you respond in the negative understand you are increasingly in the minority.”


    • Hi Ken,

      Taken in isolation that statement can be answered with ‘so?’. However in the context of the blog post it has a greater significance to anyone in business and that obviously includes real estate.


  2. There is additional support for your position in today’s Times , which reports that Warner Brothers is the first major media company to offer a movie for rent on Facebook.

  3. I think that this is the trillion dollar question. Right now FB is monetizing based on data mining and ad serving. Oodle has done nothing with the exclusive marketplace contract that were able to win a few years back. Personally, I see them doing one of two things:

    a) the referral model you point out above where they funnel traffic to other sites and have a relationship with that e-commerce provider OR

    b) become the e-commerce provider by plugging in something like a Google Base back end to handle listing and transaction processing.

    I personally like the second because it is something akin to an eBay ‘buy it now’ model where you lose the bidding aspect of eBay and also installs a safety aspect that Craig’s list has not yet been able to figure out. It won’t be the wild wild west by any means but won’t be limited to to the Amazons and Buy.com’s of the web.

  4. Ryan Hinricher says

    I think we’ll continue to see person~business flow together instead of, “I do my business on LinkedIn and my personal connecting on Facebook,” and what have you. I don’t think managing all of these channels is sustainable. Further social networking fatigue is happening to many, including myself. Also a considerable number of people are looking for ROI now and will likely abandon social media as a silo strategy and just integrate make it part of what they already do to derive business.

  5. Ray Schmitz says

    Yes, the internet is still young, and consumer behavior is changing quickly. So it is safe to bet that in 15 years real estate will be much different, but speculating that Facebook will be more important than anything else is a stretch.

    The fortunes of brands and companies can and will change a lot in that time, too. Asserting that Facebook will matter in the next few years is safe. But is it too late for them to be superceded by something else in 10 years or more. Of course not.