Facebook’s taken flak for Beacon. It’s users aren’t worth much to advertisers. But at least it has apps — those neat little programs that extend the power of social networking, make messaging pals so much more fun and that are the real attraction of a service that positions itself as a MySpace for grown-ups.
And yet just as MySpace announces its own opening to outside applications, Facebook has declared that it plans to punish programs that receive poor responses by restricting the number of notifications they can send.
Perhaps that’s not too surprising. While a few apps, such as Groups and the FunWall are useful, many are so desperately poor they look like they were produced for users too juvenile to sign up for MySpace without their parents’ permission.
For a site built on the power of apps, they’re a worrying sign that all might not be right in Zuckerberg’s world. Here are some of the Facebook apps that should find themselves under the site’s new hammer:
Yes, we know this one’s popular but what does that say about Facebook? That it’s networking power consists of people biting each other rather than recommending each other for jobs? Or that its members are the sort of horror fans who enjoy seeing teenage splatter movies in which the girl always screams, the geek comes good and the cynical friend gets eaten?
Why can’t we just talk to each other?
Another strangely popular application that gives tamoguchis a whole new lease of life… long after we’d hoped they were dead, buried and forgotten.
But this is even worse. Not only are we being offered a virtual pet friend on a site that’s supposed to help us make real pals, it’s even suggested that we spend real money on them:
Check out the (fluff)Shop for things to buy your pet–delicious treats or a cozy habitat. Each individual (fluff)Friend has a unique taste. When you raise your pet to be big and strong, try entering it into (fluff)Races!
You can also give (fluff)Gifts to your friends, and even adopt Miniature (fluff)Friends to keep your pet company.
It makes you wonder how many fluff friends have more friends than their owners.
No wonder MySpace were so enamored with apps. It wasn’t the easier networking they liked or the extra functionality. It was the realization that their members too could make their profiles look like a teenage girl’s diary.
Just what you need to advertise your company’s Facebook presence.
Of course, if you do want to add some glitter to your business idea, you may as well go the whole hog and create a pimp name for it too.
What could be more attractive to VCs checking your background than knowing that you like to be called “Big Daddy”?
Facebook seems to be filled with apps asking people what kind of something they are. This app lets you show what kind of underwear you are, while others ask what kind lingerie you’d be or which kind of TV character. They’re all about as shallow as a puddle in the Sahara and they all suggest that the depths of the relationships formed on Facebook aren’t even skin-deep.
But what kind of sandal are you?
How many kinds of sandals are there — and who knows the difference between them?
Apparently, not many. Only nineteen people ever use this app each day, setting itself up for a big cut in its notifications.
Describing yourself as a kind of shoe might be embarrassing enough but Hot Lists lets you describe yourself as a corporate brand.
Yes, we like the idea of using Facebook as business tool to reach people, but we’re not too keen on the idea of turning the people on Facebook into businesses. There is more to Internet users than what they buy.
One of the great things about the Internet is its ability to reach the long tail. Interests that rarely get a look in on mainstream media can build a fan center with dedicated contributors.
Unless you’re a Utada Hikaru fan on Facebook. Despite being one HMV’s “Top 30 Best Japanese Singers of All Time,” the Facebook app dedicated to “Hikki” has a grand total of two daily users.
Attending Utadaholics Anonymous could be a pretty lonely affair…
What do you think are the worst apps on Facebook?
[tags] facebook apps [/tags]