I just recently read an article about Facebook’s new changes. I immediately began experiencing sweaty palms, a heart palpitation for two, and a look of confusion on my face that frightened my coworkers away. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that serious. But still, I had a moment.
Folks, the “like” button has changed. Remember when you could read an article over at, say, AdAge.com, and simply “like” it? Ahhh, the good ol’ days. Now, if you “like” that same article, it’ll go ahead and post the danged thing straight to your Facebook wall the same way that the “share” function does. (Sure, you’ve got to be logged in for this to happen, but come on… aren’t we all eternally logged in?). Oh, the joys of technology. Streamlined life at last.
So what the heck does this mean, anyway? From a marketing perspective, there are benefits that can’t be denied. This means longer exposure of content on the web, and a share ability unlike anything we’ve seen thus far. The content is also more visual, giving opportunities for an alert audience to see and connect to that shared page more immediately. It also means a stronger (and ridiculously immediate) tie in of social media across the web.
From a personal perspective and an avid Facebook user, I can’t help but be a little miffed. It isn’t because more things will post to my account. Heck, I’m fine with that! It is more that Facebook seems to “forget” to tell us, the users, these things. It also presents a bone to pick – will users be annoyed that their “likes” are now unfiltered?
Ultimately, it seems that Facebook might be losing focus on their purpose. Are they there for authentic social connections? Or are they becoming marketing minions? While yes, Facebook can be a powerful tool for marketers, this power comes from the authentic nature and actions of its’ users – users who might jump ship if they feel taken advantage of. After all, Facebook wasn’t designed to be a billboard. Or was it?
What do you think? Can Facebook find a balance between maintaining its comfort for users and encouraging marketing involvement? Or are they losing focus on what makes Facebook unique?