My, Mark Z. and co. are busy little bees. Not a week goes by that Facebook isn’t (still?) all over the media, thanks to several new features that it is rolling out and announcements it’s made. I’m definitely not the first (and won’t be the last) person to ask this question but: Is the lightning-fast pace at which Facebook launches new features a smart idea? It seems that with each new rollout, users become increasingly frustrated with the platform. At least they gripe and post and tweet that they are frustrated. Whether any of them actually quit Facebook is hard to tell. I would assume that Facebook is keeping track of closed and dormant accounts and knows the rate at which users are abandoning their beloved network of friends. The fact that Facebook keeps launching new features without much user testing or notice to its users suggests that, despite all the grumbling, no one is really leaving America’s favorite social network no matter what crazy, annoying features roll out.
News (to me) This Week:
Sponsored Stories. As Cecily reported to you earlier this week, Facebook has announced the launch of its “Sponsored Stories” aka ads, that will appear in the right-hand column of your timeline. It was only a matter of time, really. We really have been “spoiled” by being able to use Facebook for free for so many years without having been subjected to much advertising. According to Facebook:
Sponsored Stories are stories that are eligible to appear in your News Feed. These show up on the right-hand column of pages on Facebook. The types of stories that can be surfaced include: Page likes, Page posts, Page post likes, check-ins, app shares, apps used and games played, and domain stories.
Spare Keys. According to CNN.com, “last month Facebook began testing a tool called Trusted Friends. It lets a user specify between three and five pals on the social network (no more, no less) who can be counted on to pass along a special code if the user somehow gets locked out of his or her account.” Call me crazy, but this just sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. What happens if you have a falling out with one of your “Trusted Friends”? I’m sure there are several scenarios we can come up with to demonstrate what a risky idea this is. And for what reason? Have thousands of people been complaining about the good old “forgot your password?” mechanism?
Facebook Phone. Mashable reports that Facebook is teaming up with HTC to launch a “Facebook phone.”
Codenamed “Buffy” after the vampire slayer of the same name, the phone will run a modified version of Google’s Android, but Facebook is reported to be tweaking the system “heavily.” HTC is known for modifying Android on its phones with its HTC Sense interface, and both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have created tablets with highly customized versions of the Android, so it’s possible that Facebook is adopting a similar strategy.
4.74 Degrees of Separation. According to a new study of 721 million active Facebook users, 99.6% of all Facebook users studied were separated by five degrees or less from any other Facebook user; 92% were separated by only four degrees. Thanks to facebook, the theory of Six Degrees of Separation is out the window. As the community of Facebook users gets bigger, our world becomes smaller.
And, apparently, so does the universe of news stories that are reported.