As Facebook expands their reach, launching a geographic platform ( Facebook Places) to compete with foursquare, it raises once again the question – Is Facebook All You Need? With custom fan pages, the simple user interface, the ability to take messages viral, why do you even need your own blog or web site?

The Answer … Control!!

While Facbook is an amazing tool, it is their tool, not yours. It is their game, their rules, and they can change the rules any time. This message was hammered home to me in several different presentations at BlogIndidana last week.

  • After building a significant following on Facebook, Scotty’s Brewhouse had reached the maximum number of friends. Giving up most of their traditional marketing, they had come to rely on the platform to stay in touch with customers, promote location based specials and build a following. Yes they have a website, but it is their fan page and twitter stream which really allows them to connect with their clients.

When they reached their maximum Facebook shut them down. Now they were able to rebuild, but they had some significant scrambling to do, and some customer connections were lost forever ( not many, but some)

  • FBML!!! – Facebook launched FBML – A quirky tool which allowed developers to create really cool Welcome pages as part of the fan page. I have met several designers recently who argued with FBML, they would never need to build another “real website” .  Not convinced it would replace traditional websites, we still took on the challenge of learning the quirks of FBML. The result are some some really cool fan pages:
  1. roundpeg
  2. startingpoint
  3. Lipstick on the Rim ( This is my favorite)

The problem – Facebook is moving away from FBML – The first warning  something was in the air, was a notice pages needed to be resized. So all of our designs have been downsized to 530 Px from 730. Not bad, but definitely not something I wanted to do. But the bigger issue? They are abandoning FBML. So now, instead of working on new projects, we need to find another way to add the custom tabs, and rebuild our sites and the ones we have created for our clients. Their game, their rules, their toys.

  • As I was researching this topic, I found a blog by Jeff Bullas with one more reason:  Facebook is not forever ( Think AOL).  Sooner or later something else will come along.  Their obsolescence becomes yours. With your site, you control, when, how and why you morph.

Have I given up on Facebook? Absolutely not. It is a powerful tool, which allows us to connect our clients with their constiuacy and DRIVE THEM TO THE CLIENT WEBSITE. That is the bottom line,:  Think of Facebook as a giant party, where you can meet lots of people, maybe even the love of your life.. Meet them at Facebook then bring them home to dance!