In a “A Slice of Life in My Virtual Community”, Howard Rheingold asks the following question about the future: “will there be an open market, in which newcomers like Apple or Microsoft can become industry leaders?”
I think there is an answer to that question right now in the present. With the emergence of Web 2.0 tools and social networks, the future is now and the future is open source. The leading social network in the U.S., Facebook, just recently produced a SDK (software development kit) package and opened up their software to developers around the world. Facebook has made it possible to create applications that can be used as part of their network. Small businesses can now become part of the social network market. Businesses can create applications for the Facebook platform and then sell them to Facebook. They can also retain rights for applications and run advertisements on their application pages. If you would like to learn more about this new facebook feature, watch Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, explain it in detail (Click here). Having a programming background myself, I am interested in trying my hand in developing a few Facebook applications. Who knows, I may even make some money. Which in turn begs the question… who will be the first millionaire in Facebook applications?
Another open source online community has already produced its first millionaire in Anshe Chung. What is truly amazing is that Chung started out in SecondLife with an initial investment of $9.95! For some more information about SecondLife, click on the Anshe Chung link above or watch the online office space that Rheingold set up at http://vlog.rheingold.com/