Facebook is a good example of a technology seeking its mission critical use case; true, such systems extend the interaction model between people in the online world, but would we all be that much worse off without a Facebook profile? Thousands of almost useless or inconsequential Facebook apps and extensions only serve to underline this revelation.
But, there is an entirely untapped, mission critical application space that could showcase social media engines: technical service applications that foster interactions and mutual support among users of complex products ranging from consumer electronics to industrial and professional equipments.
Currently, high-end durable goods enthusiasts (take motor sports for example) use typical text-based user forums to communicate with one another; this has been a great boon for folks like me, (a scooter enthusiast), who can post technical issues and observations among my forum members. The kind of forums that I frequent allows for a (fairly inelegant) posting of images, links, etc. There is also the typical conversation threading, some have tags, etc. This is where the depth of information and interactivity stop.
So much more could be done through a Facebook paradigm. Users of technical equipment, whether HD video technicians or motorcyclists, could potentially avail themselves of a much deeper, richer, and interactive collaborative experience.
What would such an add-on Facebook app look like for a motor sports enthusiast interaction model? Well, I'll throw some things off the cuff without even thinking it through, and towards the end of this article, I will try and extrapolate the lesson for more mission critical technical product support services that might make use of these social media engines.