I've found the perfect excuse to spend part of my workday surfing social-networking sites, and get paid for it, too. I do it by developing Facebook apps. My latest is a feed for the TechWeb Digital Library [login required], which will allow you to see our latest white papers, Web casts, and research reports via a little link residing right on your own personal FB page.
Sure, some people say to me: "Why do you need to put this stuff into a Facebook app, when you can just go to the white-paper site and get this stuff firsthand?" OK, that's a fair criticism. My response is, don't expect Facebook to be some kind of perfect environment where everything is just so.
Facebook is, and will continue to be, a messy amalgam of time-wasting crap, social virtual chit-chat, and (even) the occasional useful business app. I submit that the Digital Library app (the link, again) falls into the latter.
Besides which -- and perhaps I'm being too honest for the people who cut my paychecks -- my take on white papers and Webcasts has changed over the years, to the point where I think this FB app is actually really useful. Namely, in the old days, much of this stuff was tainted by overt salesmanship. Nowadays, though, there's so much commodity information floating, that when you can get a really deep dive on a technical subject of interest, you're apt to grab it.
Indeed, valuable depth is often found precisely in white papers, reports, and Webcasts. The trick, of course, is sifting through the thousands of titles flowing through digital libraries such as ours to find the specific items of interest. I submit that a little app like the TechWeb Digital Library FB thingy makes the job a bit easier.
Yes, I also know that the Facebook TechWeb Digital Library app is essentially a glorified RSS feed. (Hey, you got a problem with that?) From my standpoint, the experience of developing this app helps me come up the learning curve. (For an explanation of how I developed this, as well as two earlier apps, see InformationWeek Adds First Facebook Apps.)
My intention is to do more sophisticated, interactive apps in the very near future. Perhaps stuff which allows users to submit requests for content they'd like to access. Anyway, as regards future apps, I'd like to solicit input from you, dear reader(s). What FB apps would you like to see, built around InformationWeek and TechWeb content? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment on the blog.
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