If you’ve lived on planet Earth for the past couple of years and if you’re somewhat familiar with the intricacies of the Internet, then the Facebook phenomenon is probably something that you’ve heard of.
With 600 million active users as of January 2011, Facebook is the number one social networking environment, easily topping off its major and older competitor, MySpace.
So, we have decided to put together a small list of apps that have been ranked as top favorites among Facebook enthusiasts. Granted, you probably are already familiar with more than half of them, but bear with us as we find out why these apps have been so addicting and why is everyone talking about them even during office lunch breaks.
1. Farm Ville
The number one app that has taken Facebook by storm is definitely FarmVille. Zynga, the skilled developer behind game, has managed to fully take advantage of the Facebook API (application programming interface) and has pulled off a game so addicting that will literally get to set your alarm clock for the middle of the night so that you can collect your harvest.
The principle behind the game is so simple that it boggles the mind: you manage your own farm, buy animals, grow crops and earn money by selling your harvest. You’re probably thinking that this sounds more like a farming simulator and by all accounts, you’re right. For some strange reason, city folks (read: computer-friendly-concrete-loving people) seem to be drawn to virtual farming as a means of relaxation, escaping the reality of their everyday routine.
The in-game money that you earn can skillfully be spent on upgrades, buying new farming tools or simply adding a personal touch to your farm with various decorative items, that have no specific purpose whatsoever. Sky’s the limit and imagination is the only thing that you shouldn’t have in short supplies, because FarmVille is all about building your own dream farm (as corny as that may sound).
2. Mafia Wars
With the development credits going to the same developer that introduced FarmVille, this new take on the RPG (role-playing game) genre has taken its rightful place on our top ten Facebook app list. Arguably, one of the best browser-based games that Zynga launched, your main goal is to work your way up the mafia ladder by steadily earning (read: stealing) money and respect so that you can build your own organized crime empire.
By now, you’re probably thinking that if Mario Puzo were alive, he would be the number one fan for the game. All jokes aside, the reason why the game is such a great hit is because you’re constantly under pressure by racing around the clock to complete jobs, fend off other gangs that are trying to take over your blocks, buy weapons and gather allies. All of this is just so that you can become the ultimate Mafioso, a Godfather if you will.
This is not the girlish game ever, but you have to admit that it has its charm and although it comes with a pretty hard to figure out set of controls, once you get the hang of it it’s hard not to swing for the title.
3. Café World
If you love cooking but you really don’t have the time to practice these skills, Café World is just the app you were looking for. Straight from your Facebook account you can now bake, cook, boil stuff and even build your own restaurant from the ground up. It all starts out as a passion for cooking and as you progress, you find yourself serving customers at what appears to be the fanciest restaurant in town.
Following a time management principle, your goal is to start cooking various dishes and serve customers as they enter your seemingly small restaurant. The more money you earn, you can buy new stoves, cooking recipes, hire new personnel and even get a few restaurant fashion tweaks here and there.
This is the kind of game that you find your girlfriend playing right before she asks you to move in with her (just kidding). It’s cute, friendly, colorful, and it even allows you to express your decorating skills by choosing the tiles on the floor, the color of the drapes, wall photos and laps, and even the entire furniture.
We’re not exactly sure as to how many men/boys are actually playing the game, but by all means this is a true game for girls that find comfort in cooking or baking. It’s got fashion, style and it might even have a couple of recipes that you haven’t discovered yet.
4. Integrating Twitter
Finally moving on from games, this next app is something that has grown in popularity just as much as Facebook has. Twitter can now be integrated with Facebook and you can share and view tweets without having to browse away from your profile wall.
Binding two social networks is like breeding two predators together, they both want exclusivity and popularity. On the other hand, this merge seems to have been a great idea and the sheer number of “Likes” the Twitter app received is more than conclusive in determining that Facebook junkies also have Twitter accounts that they keep under constant management.
This way, both social networks gain a lot more by shaking hands rather than going at each other throats. This win-win situation strengthened the need for virtual social integration and opened the door for instant news transfer.
If you’re passionate about helping people in need and you are the kind of person that organizes fundraisers and charity events, Causes is the app you need to use so that you can spread the word on your endeavors. It’s amazing to see that such a small piece of software has actually helped people and it’s probably the only app on Facebook that is all about giving and not receiving.
Causes works by allowing you to start off your own charity event and getting people to support it by sending donations for those in need or by taking a moral stand over a basic principle. The reason why it’s so popular is because there’s nothing like it out there and you don’t have to compete for anything. Promoting compassion and decent human behavior has gotten Causes in our top ranking app list.
6. Simple RSS Tab
Changing the pace a bit and switching from games to apps that can keep you updated with the most current news and information worldwide, Simple RSS Tab appears to be the likely candidate on the matter. With a generous four stars out of five ranking on the Facebook app directory, it comes highly appreciated by its users.
If you’re not interested of using a conventional feed reader and you want to stay in touch with what’s going on in the world right from your Facebook profile, just add your feeds in Simple RSS Tab and all that will be just a click away. It turns out that it has a very intuitive interface and it’s so simple to use that it has about eight thousand active monthly users.
Considering that our society trend is to get news as fast as possible and spread it around the same way, this small RSS reader for your Facebook profile is designed to give you the latest headlines in events that stir your interest.
iLike is probably the biggest entertainment app on Facebook and it covers everything from music, artists, concerts fans and everything in between. Sharing with the world your multimedia preferences has never been so easy, and now you can instantly be up to date with whatever trends are making a splash in the music industry.
This app is especially popular between teenager who, let’s face it, are a big part of the percentage that covers the daily Facebook traffic. Spreading bulletins, multimedia videos and even blog comments is the fastest way to share with your personal like, dislikes and basically everything that’s cool, hip and new.
Surprisingly, in the business section of the Facebook app directory the Bing app has rounded up a whopping twenty eight million monthly active users. Most of them seam to use it to search and browse for photos rather than actual business research, as the category would have us believe.
The growing popularity that the Microsoft search engines enjoys is due to the fact that it has been integrated quite nicely with the Windows 7 Internet Explorer (as a default search engine) and since most users don’t use any alternative browsers, it stands to reason that they’ve grown accustomed with the search results provided by Bing.
Although the app doesn’t have anything else to offer besides a search box bearing the Bing logo, it’s staggering that it succeeded to fore-run any other app of this sort.
A simple utility that most of us don’t even know it’s there, but we constantly use, is named Video. It’s in charge of uploading videos from your mobile phone directly to your account, with high definition rendering and perfect scalability in terms of space-quality ratio.
Considering that mobile phones have been equipped with 720p and 1080p video capture modes, uploading them in a portable fashion to your Facebook account is no easy task, but nonetheless you watch videos posted by your friends all day long without realizing what this app is capable of.
It requires no work on your part and it’s simply reduced to clicking the Upload Video button so that it can do its job quietly. To get a clue as to how much we need it, about twenty four million users access it each month.
We know it’s not exactly an addicting app as the previously mentioned games, but it’s as vital to Facebook as air. Without it, directly uploading videos shot with our handheld devices would be wasted time at best.
10. PopCap Games
Last but not least, PopCap Games has taken a slice of the Facebook pie by unleashing their crown jewel, Bejeweled. This time around they’re calling it Bejeweled Blitz and it’s been specially designed to integrate with Facebook, allowing you to share high scores with your friends and even post your achievements on your profile wall.
The match three concept is simple and has been adapted to fit the growing need of visual eye-candy graphics and competitive spirit of the younger generation. With an achievement system based on the number of combos that you perform or the high score that you’ve earned, you’re not only playing to have a good time, but also to brag about it to your friends.
Just as addicting as any Bejeweled game, Blitz “infected” thirty-five million Facebook users into swapping gems in a time-rushed sixty seconds game-play.
At the end…
This small list that we’ve compiled thus far is nothing but our own intake on what the hottest apps are for Facebook. If you find yourself using at least five of them, then perhaps we have more in common than you might think. So feel free to leave your thoughts on our comment section below, or come visit our Facebook page and become one of our friends.
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