Block chain social network (Part 2): Facebook’s history and minimal needs

Albert Liang
Tech Sketches
Published in
3 min readApr 18, 2018

This is Part 2 of my “block chain social network” series of posts. Check out the previous post on this topic: Part 1 — An open discussion about a Facebook alternative based on blockchain technology

The hardest part of overcoming the behemoth that is Facebook is having enough features to satisfy the social network needs of the user.

It’s helpful to look at a general evolution of how Facebook became the platform it is today:

  • 2004: Facebook begins

Facebook starts with as a simple idea — be an online phonebook for your peers at school. Early Facebook let you upload your biographical info and photos, and that was about it. There wasn’t even a “wall” for you to write on other people’s pages. You used to be able to poke someone. That was fun.

  • 2007: Facebook Platform

Between 2004 and 2007, Facebook’s main product (the profile page) evolved to be more full-fledged. I don’t have exact details, but features like “writing on someone’s wall”, birthday notifications, tagging photos, etc. were rolled out over time. To me, the next big evolution in Facebook was the introduction of the Facebook Platform — a programmable API that hooked into the neural net of friends and relationships and allowed the formation of companies like Zynga. (No link given, out of personal dislike for this company.)

Ironically, Facebook Platform is what Cambridge Analytica used to access all that user data.

  • 2010: Facebook Messenger

Honestly, the major milestones from here on out are getting insignificant — mostly because Facebook is already quite a mature product by now. I’d say the next big step in Facebook history is the official spin-off of Messenger. Previously, it had resided as a built-in chat function of the main Facebook page, but this official launch represented Facebook’s intent to mature the chat platform into what it is today — with voice and video calling, the ability to send money, etc.

  • Present

I can’t quite catalog what significant changes have happened to Facebook over the last 8 years. They added reactions instead of a simple “Like”, made a much stronger push for business and celebrity Pages, added Live Streaming, and acquired Instagram, Whatsapp, and Oculus. They have 2.2 billion users. Zuckerberg “won” his Congressional hearing.

So that brings us back to the original question… what’s the minimum set of features that people need in order to replace Facebook? I believe the answer lies in Facebook’s early history.

  • Profile information
  • Sharing and organization of photos and videos
  • The “wall” (some form of short, easy broadcasting platform)
  • Timeline (some form of passive news update method)

Personally, I think that’s it. Who needs chat when half a dozen chat apps fill different niches? Businesses and celebrities might miss Pages, but will the average user? I definitely don’t think a new social network needs a programmable API… that’s what got us into this mess to begin with.

What are your thoughts? Am I missing any other essential features that would make-or-break a competitive social network to Facebook?



Albert Liang
Tech Sketches

Tech junkie, entrepreneur dreamer, practical engineer