There are some signs. First of all, Facebook hired Chamath Palihapitiya, who was a senior marketing executive at Time-Warner's (NYSE: TWX) AOL.
Besides this, there have been other major hirings, such as Amazon.com's (NASDAQ: AMZN) former vice president of world-wide business and corporate development (Owen Van Natta).
Oh, and something else: Facebook put out an ad for a "Stock Administration Manager." Kind of important for an IPO, huh?
Why all the excitement at Facebook? I had a chance to interview Robb Hecht, who is an expert on social networking and operates IMC Strategy Lab Consulting. According to him:
"Facebook has grown in popularity due to the company recently opening up participation from anyone (not just college students), so a lot of business owners and self-promoters are beginning to see success with it. Facebook's platform strategy also entailed opening their API, called F8 Platform, to outside developers. This makes Application development a very hot topic right now -- since companies are now given the ability to build their own programs and branded widgets that run within the Facebook community.
"It's clear Web 3.0 is increasingly about widgets, and Facebook's open integration and open API will make it a growing sticky and engaged site, as well as a gaming powerhouse and a web start page along the lines of Netvibes or Pageflakes. If Facebook does its branding right vs. LinkedIn, it could be the next Google of social networking in no time."
Tom Taulli is the author of various books, including the Complete M&A Handbook and the EDGAR-Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements.