Has Facebook finally made changes that most users simply do not want? Do people really not care about Privacy at all? That’s what we talk about on today’s show– has Facebook finally jumped the shark?
If you haven’t heard the news here’s the high level overview of the features Facebook is releasing:
- Timeline – basically a digital scrap book for your life. With a new profile interface that I will admit looks great.
- Facebook Gestures – which allows partners to turn any verb into a button. Think buttons like “Reading”, “Listening”, or “Watching” in addition to the standard Like button.
- The Ticker – These are updates that Facebook deems as secondary information. Status updates, photo comment, changes in relationship, likes, etc. These updates will be found currently in the upper right of the Facebook interface.
- Media Updates – now you can watch TV, films, and listen to music all within Facebook.
I can’t help but asking some pretty obvious questions:
- What percentage of the population lives in an non private and open book utopia? What percentage really wants to share every piece of media they consume?
- What percentage of the Facebook user base will (want to) use these features? What percentage will use it without really knowing? Will it be like AOL dialup continuous billing and people just forget about it?
I can see the younger generation embracing these features but the older user base simply just wont get it. Granted the older user base might not use most of these add-on services but the “frictionless” sharing adds a whole new dimension that I don’t think they are ready to adopt.
What About Applications?
So which apps will share automatically? Have you looked at your authorized applications lately? I have and it was a pretty long scroll able list. I then proceeded to start removing authorized apps and noticed a funny thing–Facebook hasn’t made this process user friendly. It literally would have taken me a half hour to remove all these apps.
Luckily I used a simple FF addon that allows me to do this quickly (see comments below on which plugin I used).
Making the process of removing app access isn’t in Facebooks best interest and could turn into some interesting updates in the future. What about the timeline features, is this something people will use. My initial thoughts are it’s a cool feature but in some aspects I find it kind of creepy. Do you want Facebook to become your de-facto digital scrapbook. Do you want to subject this on your children? Is there a new rite of passage and at age 13 are we all supposed to login to Facebook and recount the last 13 years of our life? As a marketer I’m fascinated, as a person I’m a little dismayed. I actually think it’s great to have some mystery when you meet people. The marketer in me wonders… imagine if you can target someone who has broken a bone in their life. I’d imagine that this is a painful experience for most. What if you wrote copy that correlated with this experience to drive action?
Do You Have Empathy for Meth Dealers?
What if I get called for jury duty? I should mention I just recently discovered Breaking Bad my new favorite show on Netflix . If I’m called to jury duty will I have to release my Facebook username so the legal counsel can view my timeline. If they see I’ve watched all seasons of Breaking Bad would they surmise that I might have some sympathy for meth dealers? Sure they can ask these questions now but with capturing some system capturing all my viewing habits, reading, and listening the depth of data and knowledge just get’s deeper.
Did Facebook Jump the Shark?
Part of me says yes. We’ve seen how social media has created some negative experiences, from job losses, social bullying, to relationship changes. I’m not sure people are ready for automatic sharing. I think for some it’s way to much information even if it is done in a way that is secondary. On the timeline, what does it say about a person if they do fully build out their timeline? I think most people will think this is a little more self centered then we really should be projecting. Facebook is a funny platform though. To me it’s obvious they never have cared about privacy and even with that they keep growing. So I’d watch for what percentage of users actually use these new features.
Here’s some of the best stories I’ve found on the updates: