[credit provider=”Justin Sullivan / Getty Images”]
It’s pretty crazy to think that Mark Zuckerberg created a social network site in his dormroom in college and managed to grow it into a $100 billion company.Zuckerberg is a genius. He helped the Internet evolve into what it is now.
But he couldn’t have done it without you and your friends.
The success of Facebook comes down to the concept of the social graph.
The geeks explain it this way: It draws an edge between you and the people, places, and things you interact with online.
But you may prefer a slightly less technical explanation. Say you are at a party, standing there in a circle with two friends. You reach out to touch your friend’s shoulder. Then he touches your shoulder. You all touch each other’s shoulders. You are creating connections between you and other people.
So then you start to get hungry. Fortunately, there’s pizza in the middle of the circle. But only two of you like pizza. You and that other person become part of a network because both of you expressed your interest in pizza.
In computer speak, when you “like” something through Facebook, it becomes an edge. The edge is the connection point between you and other people, places, or things.
One of the biggest misunderstandings about the social graph is that it’s not actually a graph at all.
Definitely not the kind of graph you see in maths class.
It’s actually a data structure.
Here’s what it looks like:
Photos, events, and pages are connected with other information such as your relationships to your friends, stuff that you share, and photos that you tag.
For instance, you may have noticed recently that everything you listen to on Spotify is shared with your friends, and you can also see what music they are listening too. Spotify was one of the early apps to tap into the Facebook’s Open Graph platform, which Facebook introduced in fall 2011.
The Open Graph is just the latest expansion of Facebook’s social graph.
Basically, Facebook wants to take everything you do online and put that onto Facebook.
It does this by seeing you as a user, identifying an action (whatever you are doing), and then publishing it as an object.
[credit provider=”Facebook” url=”https://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph/”]
For background, academics used to sit around talking about the World Wide Web first came out, and really wanted to add more structure to it. For instance, if every restaurant had a website, then you would use a similar structured format to post hours and menus. And then you could write a program to filter that information.
This was before Yelp.
However, academics were fighting over standards and the stuff they came up with was complicated.
That’s why Facebook is the closest thing we have to the semantic web.