iPhone’s Facebook App: Taking Social Networking to the Next Level

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There was a lot of hoopla surrounding the web app Facebook built specifically for Apple’s iPhone when it first came out. Having used it for a solid two weeks now it’s safe to say that it’s a clear winner, and potentially a lot more.
The app is so slick that it transcends the term ‘web app’. The only ‘web app’ thing about it is that you need to load it in Safari on the iPhone, other than that it might as well be its own stand-alone application. The speed at which is runs, even over the EDGE networking, is amazing – this thing has clearly been optimized for a seamless experience. The transitions from screen to screen and the layout of the information on the page actually make me prefer it over the regular Internet version of Facebook. In recent months, (since the launch of Facebook’s platform) Facebook has been becoming more and more bloated as people try to capitalize on the success of the site by creating their own apps for it. Facebook on the iPhone cuts out all of that bloat and brings it back down to the bare necessities of the network: information.
The only negative thing I can say about Facebook’s iPhone app is that you need an iPhone to use it (properly anyway, you can access the site at iphone.facebook.com from any regular web browser or use the stripped-down, mobile version of the site). If everyone in the world had an iPhone (Apple can dream, right?), the Facebook app would be hands down one of the most useful things ever created on the Internet in my opinion. The reason? It takes social networking to a whole new level.
Social Networking as it stands right now is basically when someone via connects via a computer to a website that others are also connected to and actively engaging in. “Actively” being a loose term in this instance meaning that perhaps they are updating a profile once every few days, or uploading something like a picture once a week. Sure, some element of social networking have spread to cellphones in recent months, things like Twitter and Dodgeball, but for the most part trying to use social sites over anything besides a computer has been pretty painful.
Enter the Facebook app for iPhone. Not only does it offer a great user experience over a mobile device, it gives new meaning to the term “social networking” as you can actually use it to network while you are being social – as in out and about, not chained to your computer. Before the iPhone I would use Facebook a moderate amount, but I would hardly ever do things such as update my status to let people know what I was doing. However, with the iPhone’s Facebook app I am constantly updating my status because it actually makes some sense now. Before I might as well have been typing in, “sitting at my computer updating my Facebook status” everytime I did an update, now with the touch of one button I can type in an update when I’m actually doing it. In a way, this replaces the need for Twitter.
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Just image (again in Apple’s perfect world) if everyone had an iPhone, you could turn it on and within seconds see that Jimmy is here in the city or John is there. Maybe Kim and Beth are attending the same event right now, maybe you could go meet them. Sure, you could take the time to call or text message all of these people, but if you’re anything like me and time is your most precious commodity, it’s great to have something like Facebook on the iPhone where everything is laid out for you nicely in the News Feed. Then of course if you still need to call someone, you can do that with one click right from within the Facebook app. Or maybe you don’t want to necessarily talk to them right then but just want to say hello, why not write on their wall? Maybe you’re out of town and someone just tagged new pictures of you, why not check them out? I’m speaking in generalities, but I’ve actively done each of these things using the Facebook iPhone app just within the past two weeks.
The future of social networking is heading in the direction of making it actually social and more mobile. The Facebook iPhone app is by far and away now the leader of the pack. If Facebook can create a similar experience on every cellphone and not just the iPhone, look out, Facebook addiction will hit all new levels.

Neil Patel
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at... Read Full Bio
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