Posted by: Kerry Sheahan
Posted on: April 9, 2013 11:59 am
You may be feeling that the one thing missing from your Facebook experience is the ability to accompany your status updates with an appropriate emoticon? No? It may not be amongst your top priorities, but like all of the social media giant’s additions and amendments, it will probably be hard to imagine life on the network without them given a week or two.
As of today, Facebook’s lucky users will be able to share how they’re feeling and what they’re up to through a drop down menu of emoticons and media, letting friends and acquaintances know precisely what they’re reading, watching or eating.
Put simply, it makes it easier to formally tag the places we attend, the TV shows we’re watching or the music we’re listening to, and so of course inviting our friends to get more involved in the things we love. For example, a person listening to an up and coming musician in their local area would be able to spread the word amongst friends, enabling them to click straight through to the Facebook profile and hit the “listen button”.
It’s all supposed to be part of Facebook’s plan to get users to open up more. But do a series of pre-formatted pictures really help us to express how we’re feeling? A more cynical approach would see this as an attempt to over simplify our moods and feelings? How often can we say we feel 100% sad, happy or confused? And more to the point why is Facebook asking us for such personal information?
Those who do try out the new drop down box will no doubt have noticed the pop-up notifying them that “details you add to posts also appear on your About page and other pages on Facebook.”
Now it is, the “other pages on Facebook that seems to be causing the biggest stir amongst critics and users. Facebook is essentially warning us that if we choose a particular pre-formatted emotion, TV programme or brand of coffee, Facebook could potentially use this data to target us with ads.
For example someone who reveals that they are listening to Beyonce could be targeted with ads for her new album or appearance. But is this all bad? If we’ve already stated an interest in the subject, is it not surely quite feasible that we should want to hear more about it?
Either way it will be interesting to hear feedback from Facebook’s one billion active users.