On the verge of their IPO on Friday, I’ve realised that over the past 6 months or possibly longer Facebook has really started to annoy me. It’s not just a niggling bug or strage feature that I don’t understand. It’s more than just an irking, they’ve really put me off from using their service. It’s just the little things, like giving you a million different options for notifications (well at least over 100) but yet I can’t turn off ‘key features’ that I don’t want to be forced to use, i.e. their messaging feature / chat feature.
Messaging tells people when you read a message
One of the great things with emails, besides the attempted and largely non-functional implementation of read receipts, is that it can be a one way communication if you need it to be. People don’t know if you’ve read a message, and whether to expect a response based on that fact. This week Facebook released a messaging notification feature.
It’s been reported that younger people (15-25) are gravitating towards Facebook messaging rather than email. You can even email someone by sending a message to their email@example.com . The only problem is that’s not email, adding attachments for example simply doesn’t work. Messaging someone outside the system aslo won’t work. Facebook wants to be the internet of the future, and while it’s ambitious I really don’t see it happening.
Struggling to engage users
Facebook have been sharing more and more of your data with your friends’ friends. They are now sharing that you like or comment on a status update of a friend of a friend. As to why someone would want to know these tidbits I just don’t know. If I was interested in this data I would be connected to the friends’ friend, but I’m not, so stop shoving it down our throats !
Ads on mobile
Just wait until facebook find some way to start to put ads on your mobile. One potential idea they’ve been testing is that you can pay to push your own message to the top of people’s feed, a so called promoted status update. For $2 you can make sure someone sees your ‘all important update’.
Their ad system is indeed broken. We’re already heard this week about General Motors saying that they are pulling their $10 Million budget for Facebook ads. And it’s not just large organisation finding that having a successful campaign extremely difficult, even if you have help from a so called guru. Read about how a small pizza company experience more likes for their $240 spent on ads, but little or no return on that investment.
There are rumours that Facebook will start to offer a social ad platform. This would be something akin to AdSense, but only allowing publishers to target you on 3rd party web-sites. These ads could be based on such things as :
- personal information :
- martial status
- family info
- job history
- phone network
- email address
- where you’ve taken your photographs
- what type of camera / phone you own
- social signals :
- your likes
- pages you’ve visit often
- places you’ve checked in
- your interests
Facebook will break
In the end facebook will break. Either you’ll break if yourself by constantly being encouraged to add friends. How can you realistically connect with 500 people ? Perhaps if you start to add people to lists and groups, it might work, but it almost feels like a full-time job managing your relationships online.
Or facebook will break itself, possibly by :
- increasingly adding these inane features and alienating their users further
- selling our data and removing our privacy
- becoming the successful target of hackers or activist group like Anonymous
It is Facebook really worth $100 Billion ? Perhaps the amount of data they have on us 800+ million people is indeed worth it, but is it a business that you’d like to invest in ?
Let me turn off chat
One final word in case anyone at Facebook reads this, I don’t want to use it, I will never use it, it wastes, let me remove the feature completely, give me one more option !