The battle is lost, lovers of Privacy.
Over the last few days there has been a steady trickle of rumors that something called a Facebook Phone would be soon to launch. Today's mobile event didn't include the launch of any new smartphone, but the Facebook Phone is very much a reality. In fact, every smartphone on earth will soon be a Facebook phone.
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Facebook's new "Deals" program will be the straw that breaks the camel's back and sends the social network's membership numbers spiralling off in vast implausible directions. It won't be long before virtually every smartphone in the United States has a copy of the Facebook app- and here's why.
Deals are unavoidably Viral.
Staying off of Facebook is an increasingly difficult task in modern America. For some of us, complete lack of an online social media presence can even be a career hindrance. At the very least, it requires you to take more effort to find out about parties and local events. You can't be well-informed and passive without Facebook.
But a lot of people don't mind taking more effort to stay informed, just as long as it means keeping out of Facebook's tendrils. But with Deals now in the mix, these folks are going to feel a whole lot of pressure to cave.
Picture this. A band you like is playing at a local night club. They have a Facebook Deal that gives $5 off the cover charge at the door if you flash them your smartphone/coupon. You and your friends decide to meet up at a nearby bar ahead of time, who has a Facebook Deal special tonight for $1 off well drinks. You pound four beers, hit the concert, rock out, and then decide to head over to Cafe Brazil. They've got a free pie Facebook Deal going on tonight.
Your friends all have Facebook, but you don't. And you've ended the night spending $9 bucks more and losing out on a slice of pie because of it. Worse yet, they all use Facebook, which means you had to watch them pay less and get free, delicious pie.
Now repeat that, pretty much every day, for the next forever. Think I'm exaggerating? Facebook already has 200 million mobile users worldwide. That's 2/3rds the total population of the United States. And, odds are, we'll see that number double within the next year.
More than 400 million smartphones are expected to sell over the course of 2011. How many of them do you expect will have a Facebook App within an hour of activation?
Remember, that app isn't just a way to keep in touch with your buds and check on status updates. It is a portable, endless coupon book that can actually customize itself to your needs. No clipping necessary.
When you think about it, Facebook Deals could actually be an excellent tool to determine the exact cash value of Privacy. Find someone who refuses to get a Facebook Account, and see how many deals they can watch their friends take advantage of before caving. My guess? Right about the cost of a new smartphone.
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And what do you think the first app on that new smartphone will be?