Archive for December, 2012

Facebook Responds to My Post – Well Not Really

A few weeks back I wrote a post about how Facebook is killing itself by messing up their traditional full stream of news from friends . Yesterday, Facebook announced a beta testing program that attempts to address the muddling of the friends stream of news.  The Blog Herald has an excellent piece on this beta program.

First, Facebook is testing a program from strangers (supposedly people and not marketers – but we know that will not last) to send you messages to your personal inbox rather than your “Others” folder. This is again an example of how Facebook is muddling their promise of connecting people for private conversations. Hey, if people can pay to send me junk mail can I pay to have it blocked? Facebook could add a paid anti-spam/junk mail option with an added option to block ads and paid messages. Could be worth more than a penny or two.

The second announcement is the one that responds to my earlier post.  Facebook is going to add a filter that they hope will direct all your real friend messages into you inbox and keep them out of the “Others” folder.  If this works, which I doubt, then we could see the return of the communications tool which we fell in love.  Also, if this works, do we really need a paid option?  My guess though is that the marketers will learn to game this system as well and that I will continue to miss out on the cute cat and baby pictures of my friends.



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Where Facebook is killing itself – Filtering the News Stream

Facebook’s success came from a very simple feature – the ability to see all of the cool stuff from my friends. Through all of the changes and features this was always the value. Over the past year or two I have been distraught at how Facebook limits what I see from my friends and family. I absolutely understand the limits placed on brands. However, leave it to me to determine the best updates from my personal contacts — WITHOUT having to bother with Friend Lists or other such silliness.

It seems clear that the reason Facebook is “helping” its users by showing what it considers to be the most relevant posts on your news stream is because Facebook wants to find ways to make money. Individuals are now encouraged to pay to have their own information guaranteed to show up in their friends’ streams. Ridiculous, this was and is the promise. Why should I pay for the fulfilling of the core reason to be on the service itself?

I expect brand to pay to appear in my stream. I have never enjoyed how a simple LIKE of a post by a brand or to their page resulted in a subscription to their feed. I think this was a mistake from the onset. There should have been a difference between saying you Liked a post or brand and the activation of a feed subscription. This is where Facebook is now headed for brands and is an excellent monetization strategy. However, it is a poor strategy to apply the same plan for personal pages.

The Review Conundrum
The biggest reasons why Facebook has not put his in place is probably because that to separate brands from people there needs to be some way to review and evaluate which category a page or profile belongs. With the hundreds of millions of accounts and even greater volume of pages this is a herculean task. But, without it, Facebook lumps everyone together under one set of assumptions and this cannot last for the long term.

I predict that unless Facebook comes up with something to restore the core promise of connecting individuals to one another in an unfiltered manner that Facebook is going to face an ever increasingly difficult effort to maintain its casual user pool. (l I think this is one of the reasons why Twitter was able to become so popular.) The active diehards and fans are sure to remain. They will figure out the myriad of ways to find the updates from friends and have active conversations. However, the more massive group of casual users (that Facebook will need to survive) is going to become disenchanted with a service where they miss messages from their friends and family. They will say, why bother and switch to an alternate.

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