Paul Allen, founder of www.myfamily.com and www.ancestry.com, calls himself a "a serial social entrepreneur, trying to build businesses that improve the world and connect and strengthen families." He has 500+ connections on LinkedIn.com, and 2 million+ in his overall social network. On his blog he writes that there's "a huge opportunity" for Internet entrepreneurs to develop applications and spread them virally as sites like Facebook.com map "the social graph" -- the connections of real people all over the world to each other.
According to Facebook's About page, it's "a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them. People use Facebook to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet."
Facebook by early 2008 is projected to have 50 million users who log in at least once a month, and half of whom log in every day. Allen writes:
When Facebook has 100 million users, in the not too distant future, having the ability to develop an App in their system will almost be like being able to get a link on Google’s own home page...
Now, instead of application developers having to each build their own web site and try to get people to find it and use it and share it, the viral marketing of any good application site will come right from the Facebook interface itself. As users adopt new apps, they will spread quickly through the network...
He predicts that Facebook "will become the #1 social network worldwide (and the first to get 1 billion users–I love Facebook mobile, by the way) and that thousands of entrepreneurs will become extremely successful by developing to this new platform."
JP Rangaswami, CIO of of Global Services for BT Group, is also excited about Facebook. On his blog, Confused of Calcutta, he calls it "a collective, many collectives, overlapping collectives. The 21st century Trades Union movement for knowledge workers. No longer held hostage by a single trade or profession or company, switching roles between employee and partner and customer. Individual and collective."
Fortune magazine has also hyped Facebook with an article titled "Facebook's Plan to Hook Up the World," that focuses on its potential as a platform for sales, new business and work networks. "Work networks are exploding, with 14,000 at IBM, 10,000 at Ernst & Young, 8,100 at the BBC, and 6,300 at General Electric. The U.S. Army network has 43,000 members."
In contrast, Jason Calacanis, founder of Weblogs, Inc. and former General Manager of Netscape, hates Facebook -- says he's drowning in trivia on it, and has closed his account. Worth a read.
Probably more balanced than all of this hype is a discussion over at EdCone's blog about how some regular people use, or don't use, Facebook.