Obviously, since our last bout of complaining about how Facebook should realize it won’t ever be Twitter, way back in August, Facebook is still trying hard to become more like the micro-blogging platform.
This decision eludes me; I feel like there’s a main distinction between the two social networks, where Twitter is external and Facebook is internal. Facebook is more about friends and Twitter is more about content curation. Facebook is about digital communication with our real-world friends, while Twitter is about interaction with other netizens.
Eluding or not, Facebook started rolling out a new feature this week for its users. This feature is basically its own version of “retweet”, where the user can share what their friends shared, while sending an automatic hashtag “tag” a la Twitter as a notification.
How It Works
You are reading something a Facebook friend shared and you think “WOW, I want to share this with my friends too“! All you do is click a button, smartly placed next to the familiar “Comment” button.
You then have the option to add your own opinion, as well as control privacy settings. Don’t you love how they say “Send as a Message instead”? It sounds like they’re saying “Okay, you can send this as a message, but you better not!” Best part, you’re not limited to 140 characters ;)
Of course, with Facebook trying really hard to push people to externalize their shared content, the default sharing setting is everyone, which makes sense with links.
The shared item is displayed on your profile stream, with a nice big “via” tagging the person you’re sharing it through. Of course, users have the options to share it as well.
Facebook and Curating Information
Surprisingly, Facebook are not going all out with this feature. In its current form, I do not see it adding much value to the site.
There’s no way for users to be notified that their shared item was re-shared except by a notification. There are no boxes added anywhere on the profile with some sort of statistics as to how many links were re-shared, who is re-sharing what, or any other kind of details. It’s very much like adding a comment to an item and having your comment show up on your profile.
Yeah, sure, many netizens share things because their friends might like them, but I personally believe that they are also looking for rewards. People like having their suggestions picked up and re-suggested by others, they like tracking who is doing what with what they’re sharing, and they like seeing numbers.
If Facebook wants to move into the Twitter domain of sorting out the good links from the bad, then they need to take some serious steps with displaying the sorting action happening in their ecosystem.
Is Social Bookmarking the Next Step For Facebook?
This is probably a long shot, but I can’t help but feel like Facebook are going to start trying to mimic the social bookmarking scene soon. It would probably be a great idea, as people are very likely to enjoy what their friends are sharing.
The way I foresee it happening is adding a page somewhere that lists the currently most shared links on Facebook. Perhaps this page should be added under “Groups” rather than under the entire Facebook umbrella, so that users with similar interests can share relevant links. That will probably add more value to the static groups as well.
Imagine the possibilities that this entails, definitely more possibilities than mimicking Twitter!
Yo Facebook, if you ever decide to become the next Digg, just remember that it was a ThoughtPick idea ;)
What do you think? Do you like this new “Share” feature, and do you think you will use it? Can you see Facebook integrating social bookmarking into their ecosystem as well? Let us know what you think