Facebook Application Madness

Facebook has too many “applications”. That sounds stupid, I know, and to some degree it is. After all, Facebook is a platform, and what good is a platform if there’s nothing to put on it?

To be fair, the real problem is that it’s too damn easy to send application “invites”. I ignore so many requests from friends on Facebook purely based on the fact that I need to add yet another specific application to my Facebook profile to even see what it’s about.

I’ve blogged on Facebook before, and the fact that the plethora of bad applications hides what makes it so good. Many C programmers scoff at Visual Basic because it allows very average programmers to knock out rubbish, thus saturating the market with sub-standard, barely fit-for-purpose applications. Visual Basic didn’t make a good programmer bad; there are lots of really good VB applications out there, but it does allow bad programmers to demonstrate how bad they are. Programmers that would never get C++, Java, C# or anything else.

Now Facebook is doing the same, but it’s even worse because a self-contained, all-in-one development platform and marketing machine, with a captive audience, and the added bonus of using the guilt factor to make people accept the “invitations” from their friends.

The real truth is that they’re not really invitations, they’re just another form of spam. The application developers add in these screens that makes it hard to avoid sending the spam to all the friends on your friends list. There’s a big ol’ “Send Invites” button, and a small, quiet “Skip” hyperlink that no-one notices.

I mention all this because I’ve just been invited to a group called “This has got to stop“, the idea of which is as follows:

It’s a group aimed at making it harder for people to issue application invites. As a budding application developer, it’s something I am happy to exclude from my app.

This is one group I will join, because I do like the sentiment. The group synopsis also gives details on blocking applications. I will be blocking Vampire right away. These days if I do decide to add an application, I turn off all the non-required options except the “publish in my news feed” option. That’s the power of Facebook, the news feed. That’s right, feeds.

Need I say more?