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I've never thought of Facebook in this context before and I have to say I agree with you. I remember when AOL came out and the frustration of the "slowness" of it all. It was even exciting to get email and see a picture. The topping on the cake for me was AOL chat!
I've often thought of Facebook as a separate "internet" and this is similar to your concept above. Most of our web actions are now available through FB. It will be interesting to see if they have the same fate as AOL. On one hand Facebook has overcome all of their blunders to date and Mark Z. seems to have an incredible ability to forsee what the social public will want, or put up with!
If I had to guess right now I'd say that Facebook will be a success. So many people rely on it to keep in touch with their networks. If it failed there'd have to be another replacement in the works.
Thanks for posting this, definitely made me think!