The first FacebookCamp Toronto is done, and kudos to the organizers for holding such a successful event. The reported turnout was about 450 people, making it the biggest Facebook Developer Garage yet (other cities, like San Francisco, often have had ten times less people); and, despite the buzz Facebook is creating in the marketing world, nearly half of the attendees were developers, and a quarter of those were actively developing Facebook apps.
All this helps explain why Facebook sent a team up to this event (it’s the first time they’ve attended a session outside the Unisted States). One of whom, Melanie Marks, started the night off sharing stats and details about Facebook’s usage in Canada (which I’ll likely comment on in another post at another time). She explained what Facebook has discovered about what a successful app must do:
- promote recent activities within the application, and time stamp it;
- ensure the application is socially relevant to the user (include friends names, for example);
- create content that tells friends what a user is up to and doing;
- and increase engagement by, in part, using social comparisons.
Jay Goldman, of Radiant Core, spoke next and revealed the anatomy of an application — had I seen his presentation a month and a half ago, I would have saved Google a lot of work. Trapeze Media’s Sunil Boodram followed with an overview of FBML and shared some tips on getting select menus to appear in a Facebook application (hint:
The night was about ten minutes ahead of schedule when I took the stage after Sunil to talk about FQL (view the slides). Despite feeling as though I never got into the groove of things, people seemed to appreciate whatever I insight I did offer.
Refresh Partners’ Colin Smillie followed with a quick introduction to the thing that caused me the most pain (albeit, some of the blame falls on my inexperience with Code Igniter): how to update a user profile.
Although I missed the first demo, I caught the last bit of the one for Carpool by Zimride and I will be installing that; and it ended with Greg Thomson’s enjoyable pseudo-demo for My Aquarium, where he also shared some lessons learned about running an application with 1.3 million users.
(In typical fashion, the night didn’t end then, but carried on at the Drake, where, surreally, there was also a Degrassi DJ competition going on.)
There is already a plan to hold a second FacebookCamp in the fall to cater to the other half of the audience with its focus on marketing, and business. Keep an eye out on the TorCamp site and list for more details.