It must be tough to be Facebook. So much data to sort, so many advertisers to please, so much money to be made. How does a social networking behemoth even begin to make sense of it all?
Let's start with emoticons.
You might have noticed today that you can now tell people how you're feeling in your status updates by using pre-programmed emoticons
, in what I can only describe as an homage to the old Myspaces and Livejournals of yore.
But this is more than some elaborate participation in #throwbackthursday (or Tuesday), or simply Facebook trying to make it easier for you to express yourself. Indeed, this is a rather easy way to target your ad space. So don't be surprised if you see ads for Kleenex or Prozac if you happen to express how sad you are quite often.
But wait! There's more: In addition to expressing emotions, you'll also be able to conveniently tell people what you're watching on TV, what you're eating, where you're drinking, what you're listening to — and tag people, TV shows, musical artists and establishments in the process. Oh, and by the way: All of that stuff will end up on your timeline's About section, listed as interests.
Such a fun, convenient way to feed the beast its advertising data.
Sarcasm aside, all of these new sharing methods are actually quite convenient when you think about it. If you accept that Facebook and its advertisers are making money off of the data you provide, then at least they're all making it a lot easier for you to give it to them. What's more, if you accept that Facebook is a means for others to try to sell you things, then at least it's helping you see ads and sponsored stories that might actually apply to you.
So have you tried out the new visual sharing features? What do you think?