So, Facebook announced a new feature recently that looks like it will change the very face of everything you ever thought you knew about mobile social media. That’s right – it announced that you will now be able to see at a glance whether your friends on messenger are logged in from the web or from the mobile app. Oh – what’s that? You thought I was going to talk about something a little bigger? Like, a few billion dollars bigger? Nah. Just this mobile-or-web thing.
Web-or-Mobile Does Have Uses, Though
The announcement does seem a bit strangely timed, what with everyone else in the world talking about Snapchat’s rejection of Facebook’s $3 billion offer to acquire the company. Could be that the social network, harassed from all corners by accusations that it’s losing its cachet among the young tastemakers, and now spurned by the new cool kid in town, is simply licking its wounds in the wake of the rejected offer. But this little mobile-or-web feature does have its place in the conversation about the future of mobile social media; probably not a three billion dollar place, but a place nonetheless.
Feature Shows Utility, Ease of Use – Facebook’s Future?
Knowing whether people are responding via web or mobile has a subtle influence on how we perceive the messages we are getting and sending. Users on mobile are more likely to write very short responses, responses that could be seen as terse if coming from a full-keyboard-equipped web user. Users on mobile are more likely to be busy, on the move, and unable to respond as quickly as desktop users. It’s a small nod to the fact that we have come to expect certain behaviors from our friends and peers on social media, and that where they are responding from has an impact on the type of messages we consider socially appropriate. The new cool it ain’t, but one thing that Facebook has emphatically resisted is the idea that it has ever wanted to be cool. The recent WSJ article by Farhad Manjoo works hard to debunk the notion that the popularity of Snapchat, which (many are quick to point out) has yet to bring in a dollar worth of revenue, is any indicator that teens have oracular tech-popularity-prediction power. But all of this leaves us with the question, then, of why Facebook was prepared to shell out Scrooge McDuck-level cash for the business.
The upshot is this: Facebook is going to continue to make the little tweaky improvements that make it the most overall useful social media site right now, and it’s also going to keep looking for ways to become the next big thing, as well.
Considering moving your entire social media strategy to Snapchat?
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