It’s the day anybody on Facebook dreads: the day Facebook announces any sort of change at all. There will be much wailing and gnashing of the teeth as Facebook is RUINED FOREVAR! Then a week later nobody cares. So let’s just get the whining out of the way now and look at what Facebook hath wrought, here at Uproxx News.
Let’s start with the feature the tech blogosphere thinks users actually care about, but are really going to hate: Facebook Deals. This, of course, is Facebook doing a cannonball right into the online coupon market, after Groupon and LivingSocial demonstrated that yes, anybody under the age of forty would care about a coupon if it was a coupon to something they cared about and was one they didn’t have to clip.
Facebook seems to be an ideal platform for this, what with those 600 million users and all that, but they made one crucial tactical mistake: you have a choice of getting these in your emails or in your News Feed. Because, you know, spamming your News Feed is something Facebook users are just ecstatic about.
The first five cities to experience yet another attempt by large corporations to hijack your feed to sell you their crap will be Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Francisco, and San Diego. A lot will depend on Facebook getting deals that people are actually interested in and that don’t suck. Way too many would-be Groupon competitors have decided that “$1 off $1000 in purchases!” is an awesome deal.
Meanwhile, Facebook has decided that instead of people posting something on their Wall with a Like button, they might just want to tell one person with a “Send” button, because pasting a link in an IM window or mentioning it in an email or posting it on their Wall or mentioning it on Twitter or sending it in a Facebook message was just too hard and people shouldn’t have to do that to pass on important information like catsfarting.wmv.
Yes, the Send button will be added to the Like button fairly soon, so you can tell only one person they might enjoy something instead of telling everyone. This has excited marketing departments for some reason, and absolutely nobody else. Was anybody aside from ad agencies clamoring for a faster way to send links to friends?
Amid all the “features” that only a “social media marketing expert” could love, there is actually some good news, namely a few tweaks to Groups. Whoever creates the Group will have more administrative power, which means you’ll finally stop being added to random groups by some jackass you met three years ago and haven’t talked to or cared about since. Facebook Questions can be posed to Groups, and entire photo albums can be uploaded as well.
In other words, Facebook basically turned Groups into LiveJournal. Hey, maybe it’ll catch on more in Russia.
- Facebook Deals are introduced, Groupon and Livingsocial pray they screw it up, which they probably will. (Time)
- Also, it’s adding a “Send” button, which nobody will use. (the hideously designed AdWeek)
- Groups, on the other hand, are becoming more useful than annoying at last. (Silicon Republic)
- Meanwhile, the peeing match between a flailing corporate giant and a bunch of whiny little hackers continues apace, as the PlayStation Network is still down, annoying gamers across the country.
Sony claims it’s an “external intrusion”, i.e. the hackers at Anonymous, while Anonymous largely claims that it’s Sony’s fault, and they’re probably getting blamed for Sony’s crappy servers.
You might remember all this started because of George Hotz, aka Geohot, who figured out how to jailbreak the PS3. Sony freaked out, whacking Geohot with lawsuits, getting access to his social media accounts, and even looking to see who donated to his Paypal. Then Anonymous showed up, creating one of those situations where you don’t want to ally yourself with either side.
Either way, it’s coming up on a week since the outage, with Sony losing millions and games like “Portal 2” being unplayable online. Somewhere, everyone who has ever had to hear about how a crappy game is “really designed for multiplayer” is laughing. (Yahoo!)
- 30% or more of Groupons go unused. Still a better usage rate than Friendster. (MyNorthwest)
- There are at least 620 million Facebook Groups. Roughly 1% of them are actually interesting. (AllFacebook)