Cause for Concern

Even with our recent post covering what appears to be a good step in the right direction 1 , I still have to wonder whether Facebook suddenly cares more about the user experience of their platform, after all.

This morning, Kyle Vanhemert of Wired asks the question of whether Paper will thrive in this new content driven environment. As part of his cautiously optimistic conclusion, he recalls this recent Mark Zuckerberg quote, and examines how it fits with Facebook's new app launching release only a few months later:

“Maybe electricity was cool when it first came out, but pretty quickly people stopped talking about it,” he said last fall. “Are fewer people turning on their lights because it’s less cool?”

The trouble with that analogy is that our relationship with Facebook today isn’t one of dependence so much as habit. At this point, we have all sorts of avenues for sharing, promoting, and consuming. Every time someone posts something to a competitor, that’s one page that doesn’t end up in Facebook’s lovely magazine.

But by launching a product that celebrates content, Paper could win back some of that valuable engagement.

I know that as an individual who has never really used Facebook, I'm on an island. I'm mostly unable to participate in a platform that shrugs at the idea of engaging their users in a great experience, and instead aspires to simply create widespread dependence on their product. My concern here is that Paper was created as a necessary response to a public that has possibly fallen out love with Facebook, as opposed to the company's own innate desire to provide a wonderful experience.

I'll withold complete judgement until we see how this plays out. In the meantime, let's all agree to make sure Facebook truly earns back our loyalty.

  1. Released today, we'll need a few days to put it through the proper paces.