Have you ever been at a large birthday party at which everyone is joining one single conversation? That’s what I thought. Maybe there are a few speeches, but most of the time you either talk to one person or a small group. This seems obvious. But why was Facebook a place where you either talk to everybody (updates, likes, shares) or to one person (direct message)? Time to take action.
It’s all about people. Whereas social media are supposed to be mainly user generated, this functionality often lacks. The biggest problem of #fb is that it doesn’t always mirror real-world encounters well. Facebook solved this problem of getting all your friends in once place, and created the problem of having all your friends in one place.’’
One of the biggest challenges running a technical organization is that there is an inordinate focus on technical challenges. To make #fb more social, it started introducing some new features. Last week, #fb introduced the ability to sort small groups of friends and check-ins at real world places. Users are empowered to control and moderate the groups. Now you can make inside jokes and discuss stuff that others surely won’t understand (and even gossiping is possible :p), without people getting the wrong image of you. But, on the other hand, advertisers can gratefully place their ads much more effectively.
Humans, not computer formulas, can make #fb and the internet more useful. Chris Cox, vice president of product and also the evangelist making sure that the software is human, introduces a name for developing social, rather than technological solutions: social design. He states that #fb is just at the tip of the iceberg with the potential for social design. Chris imagines a world where social design can improve many more aspects of life online. This social design which is all about people, totally fits the modern view of marketing where the human spirit is centered.
Although I believe that #fb could have started way earlier, I think this social design is great. A typical example that online must not be treated as a substitute for offline, but works complementary, extending the real world. Giving users more control fits this modern 3.0 era in which businesses do not have the full power over their brands anymore. By giving people responsibility you let them know that they are part of your brand, which makes them even more involved. Besides, when #fb would not have listened to their members’ wishes, they might switch to other social networks pretty soon.
I wonder, will you use #fb’s new features? And does this make the online world a realer place?