Dave Morin – Graphing Social Patterns

Next speaker up is Dave Morin, the platform manager for Facebook. The topic of discussion is an “intro to platform, apps & metrics.”

Just got back from London and spoke to a crowd of people. Dave is humbled by where they have come from. Dave is pointing to Ari Steinberg who is one of the lead engineers for the platform. Dave is humbled by the opportunity to come speak about the platform.

The platform team is a small team. Today he is talking about Facebook, the soical graph and the Facebook platform. To talk a little about Facebook, we are a technology company. Facebook is a social utility. We are trying to add utility to peoples’ lives and help the communicate efficiently. Want to do it in an open way.

This has led to a lot of growth. There is a significant growth curve. There are currently 43 million active users. There are over 225,000 new users every day. This is a lot of users every single day. That’s 3% per week. We are doubling every 6 months. Where are these new users coming from? There are a lot of new users over the age of 25. There are a lot of international users: Canada, UK, Australia, Norway, South Africa and Sweeden. Over half of the users are international and 47% are in the U.S.

We are seeing that the age distribution is representative of the internet population in each company. Around 57 percent in the U.S. are in the 18-25 demographing. The majority of the remaining are older. Over 50% of users are returning daily. On a page view basis we are doing around 60 billion pages every day. That’s 1500 pages per user per month. That makes them the 6 most trafficked (is that spelled wrong) site on the net.

So why are we here? Slide says “Social Graph.” How do we see the social graph? This is one of the things that is making what we are today. There is a social graph that connects everybody here in the room. We want to map it in the most efficient way possible. Not that ours is better than anyone elses, we want to do it in the way that is the most efficient. “The social graph is the network of connections that exist in the world through which people communicate and share information.”

So what does it start with? Starts with you, starts with me, starts with identity. We want to enable people to share their identity online. Sometimes it is really hard to find these things. When you lose your phone it’s hard to find the numbers that are in there. We try to focus on enabling people to represent their identity efficiently. We then try to make it easy for people to communicate with each other. Beyond that we want to enable people to communicate with as many people as possible at the same time.

What’s interesting about that is that we’ve grown significantly. As time goes on this information becomes more valuable. It’s important to remember that we think of this as something that is open. This does not necessarily mean that we don’t think other people can do this. Hopefully we can work together with other people to make this better.

10:33 am – Dave is now displaying the politics application. Another great example is the photos application. The photos application enables people to put photos into Facebook. We don’t let you upload high resolution photos but it has become the most trafficked photos application on the net. It is double the size of everyone else combined.

Events application was put together by Mark Zuckerberg in one night. Dave is discussing hackathons at Facebook. We were able to put this up on to the site. Doesn’t have a profile box. This is vastly larger (30 M) then other events applications (e.g. Evite has less than 12 million users).

Facebook platform, deep integration, mass distribution. The platform is open. People tend to wonder why Facebook is not more open. We spend a lot of time thinking about this. On top of worrying about users’ privacy. It’s a standards based web service. It’s all about the social graph and applications. Social context on the same class as Facebook.

Deep integration. There are 3 integration points: profiles, full pages and the homepage (news feed, notifications, requests). On the profile you can integrate with the left nav and profile boxes. This is not the most important thing. There is also the ability to create canvas pages. Covering news feed again. Dave McClure asked me to talk more about the news feed.

10:34 am – We’ve had a lot of discussion with our developers about the news feed. We need to make good policies for the entire community so that spammers don’t ruin the experience. Need to discuss what best practices there are on the platform? Discussing this in relationship to the photos application.

This is honestly a duplicate overview as provided on their platform overview. Displaying the content page within the photos application. Nothing really new here. We want people engaging with these applications. Enable people to engage with your content even at the most minute level. This is very important. In terms of distribution there are a lot of things involved. We want to enable people to gain mass distribution through places like the profile.

We’ve begun to notice recently that people are using the mini-news feed to find information. People are leveraging it as much as we’d like to. Dave is encouraging the crowd to use the mini-feed better. Sorry Dave! Dave is now covering notifications. So what is the new opportunity here? The 3 things we think are most important around this opportunity are:

  1. Growth
  2. Engagement
  3. Monetization

Get to monetization as quickly as posisble. These are things that are usper important. Dave is discussing the fbFund. I don’t want to plug this too much but the spirit is in helping the community to pursue their dreams. My stats aren’t as detailed as Tim’s crowd chuckles. We have over 90,000+ developers in the community. We are humbled to be able to participate in something this large.

Most important stat: 80% of our users have adopted one application or more. Our users are adopting these applications and loving it. These aren’t just our users, they are your users.

Question: Are there any plans to take this from a level 2 platform to a level 3 platform?

Answer: We think about these problems. Not yet.

Question: What’s the single biggest challenge in building this platform?

Answer: We spent a lot of time making sure that the platform is easy to understand. FQL was a big development for us.

Question (me): Are you going to help developers monetize their application?

Answer: I can’t comment on that unfortunately. I can’t comment on this as to whether this is a future feature.

Question: What kinds of things are you looking for in an application that receives funding from the fbFund.

Answer: We aren’t an investor persay. We are just giving grants. Great ideas. Great business models.

Question: 87% of app installs came from 2% of the apps. Do you see this as a problem? How can we smooth this out?

Answer: We don’t see it as a problem. At Facebook we are going to help developers find effective ways of distribution.

Question: What are your thoughts on the evolution and progression of apps within the graph?

Answer: There is a concentration of apps that have to do with games. Dave is giving an overview of the distribution that you can find out about in the O’Reilly report. Not much that’s new here. There are cool innovations to be done.

Question: Is it a pure numbers game to let applications fly on no matter how good or bad they are? The people that are just throwing apps out there are diluting it for people that are taking this seriously.

Answer: We see this as a market. We are going to continue to innovate and hopefully cool applications will make it to the top. I don’t think there is an “uncool” application in there.

Question: Is Facebook working with any other social graph providers (e.g. LinkedIn)?

Answer: We want to enable people to take their data where they want to go. If LinkedIn wants to build on our platform, we can integrate social graphs.

End.