Friday, September 16, 2011

Facebook Smart Lists: Mark Zuckerberg's genius ability to take other sites' best ideas. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

Google is not the only one in Manifest Destiny mode

This is Facebook's greatest strength: Zuckerberg and his minions copy everyone else's best ideas freely, unashamedly, and really, really well. Just after announcing Smart Lists this week, Facebook launched another big feature. The site's new Subscribe button lets you get specific people's updates directly in your News Feed, even people you haven't friended. Sound familiar? It should, because subscribing to someone on Facebook is exactly like following someone on Twitter.

On Facebook, friendship has always been a two-way street—this was one of its core principles. But Twitter's success apparently led the company to decide it was flexible on that point. Facebook has been similarly inspired by lots more features around the Web. The site's other recent initiatives include check-ins (cribbed from Foursquare), Deals (Groupon), Questions (Quora), and mobile chatting with a group of friends (GroupMe). Star Trek fans will recognize this promiscuous pilfering as the principal tactic of the Borg. Like that futuristic collective, Facebook roams the tech universe in search of interesting technology, then mercilessly assimilates all the best stuff into its ever-larger catalog of features.

Facebook Smart Lists: Mark Zuckerberg's genius ability to take other sites' best ideas. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

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