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Friday's 5 – Things I should have blogged about this week

For me this was definitely one of those weeks where I had more ideas for blog posts than time to write them. So here are the five topics I would have written about if time weren’t such a limiting factor for me right now.

(5) Top 40 Drupal Projects

I have a pretty good grasp on what the best WordPress plug-ins are but less knowledge about the various Drupal modules. This list and accompanying podcast are a great place to start. Of the ones I haven’t played with before, the Video, Simplenews, e-Commerce and Audio modules look particularly interesting.

(4) Thompson Campaign Live Blogs Debate

Obviously I’m an interested observer here, but I thought it was pretty cool that Jon Henke live blogged the Republican debate for the Thompson campaign. I think a lot of poli-tech pundits spend too much time focusing on the shiny new toys (Facebook applications, Eventful, whatever) and not enough on fundamentals (I think blogging should be a fundamental at this point). The fact is that most campaign blogs are really bad and this is an example of a good use of the medium.

(3) Splash Pages – Do We Really Need Them?

More than you’ll ever want to read about the use of splash pages on websites. I’m firmly on the use them very rarely side of the fence.

(2) Social Networking is a feature, not a destination

Chris Anderson writes about whether the future of social networking lies in large, destination sites (MySpace, Facebook) or in smaller communities distributed on niche websites. His conclusion: “I think focused sites that serve niche communities will extract the best lessons from Facebook and MySpace and offer better social networking tools to the communities they already have. I’m sure huge and generic social networking destinations will continue to do well, but I’m placing my bet on the biggest impact coming when social networking becomes a standard feature on all good sites, bringing community to the granular level where it always works best.”

(1) Facebook Reality Check: It’s not worth $100B, and it won’t crush MySpace or Google (but it does rock)

Buried in this long rebuttal against Facebook hype by Jason Calacanis is the following tidbit regarding reports that Facebook usage is falling: “I’ve heard some inside information on focus groups that were done by a VERY credible source outside of Facebook that found that students coming back found the applications to be annoying–the equivalent of spam.”

While that is a bit more extreme than my current opinion, my enthusiasm for Facebook applications has definitely waned in the last few months (both from a user and developer perspective). As a user, I find most of them banal. As a developer, you have to face reality and realize that most people probably aren’t going to use the ap you build.

Unless there is really compelling case, I think building a Facebook application is a flight of fancy you pursue only after you’ve got all the fundamental parts of your web program nailed down.