This week, Facebook announced it will open up its profiles to search engine spiders. What does that mean? At a practical, detail level, it means a barebones Facebook profile (name, photo and not much else except contact capability) will show up on Google when you search the name of a person who happens to be registered at Facebook. But the big story is that, whereas Facebook has been something of a youth-oriented black box to the majority of age 35+ professionals, that mystery will last no longer. I predict that people over thirty who are not currently using Facebook are going to be shocked at the number of their friends and colleagues who are on the platform.
Are they doing business there? Not so much. Are they monitoring their kids or just checking out a phenomenon? Yeah.
Users have a month to dial up their Facebook privacy controls and remain invisible to the search engines. Those controls are very fine indeed, but probably too much work and too many clicks for the average user. The result will be massive search engine exposure for unsuspecting Facebookers.
(BTW, the above are US-centric comments. Facebook’s international expansion is not student driven. 5% of the Norwegian population is on the platform already.)