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Facebook Doesn’t Need a Facelift…Yet

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

I am writing you on behalf of the Social Media class at Wichita State. I’ve come up with some interesting ideas to improve your product that I think you should take a deep consideration of.

When asked how Facebook could change their product for the better over the next three years, the first thing I thought of was incorporating an email group membership and a similar system to Microsoft Outlook. Outlook allows users to email, set tasks, meetings, and calendar of events.

Facebook already incorporates an email feature and allows users to attach items. By doing this, Facebook is making smaller email accounts like Yahoo! and Hotmail irrelevant to younger users (most of which use the accounts for setting up memberships to other websites like slickdeals, reddit, ect.) and thus use these accounts essentially for spam. It’s my belief Facebook has a chance to market to users with the email application. There is a section on Facebook that allows user to select things they enjoy (a basic about you section). Why not create a new section that holds websites you’re a member of. You can only say you’re a member of this website if you use Facebook’s email to set it up. So let’s say you create an ESPN account to play fantasy football. You sign up for ESPN using a Facebook email account and your profile updates that you belong to ESPN. Instead of just “liking” a page you can have a section that has all your memberships on it. This allows Facebook to take slight control of email from Google.

So what of this Outlook? Outlook already syncs up to Facebook if you chose the option, why create your own? Facebook has a great chance to increase advertising effectiveness here.

Example 1: Suppose you’re at work and you want to schedule a lunch with 15 coworkers. With Outlook you just click on the calendar to create the event on a specific day, type in their email address, and send an invite to go to lunch. What Facebook could do is take Outlook’s calendar model and make one of their own. Users could go to the calendar section, invite other users (much like an event), and select a place (this works out especially well if the place has a Facebook page). The business could see how many people are attending so they could make reservations, and Facebook is used instead of Outlook.

Example 2: You have a crazy semester coming up. Classes and work all week, so you need to set a schedule. You make one in the new Facebook application and you’re able to keep track of your schedule on Facebook. You have the option of letting other select users see your schedule. Facebook could use the information you typed into the computer for advertisers. Suppose you wrote “Trip to Lawrence” on your calendar. Facebook could use that information and shops in Lawrence could display ads on your right column when the trip is near. This creates an even more dynamic approach to advertising and users will use your feature and not a competitor’s.

Facebook could make these simple changes and improve their product.

Now to be critical of Facebook

The new layout is very painful and new layouts come out way too often. I like how things have changed from the original layout, but the changes happened too fast. It’s too much for your users. Every time you make changes there is some idiot who thinks you’ll start charging for services. Then a collective group freaks out. A better communication system would help this. It would be nice if you could message all users on what changes will occur. You post on the news feed, but then there is public interpretation of what you posted. If any of the users message you back, you can have some poor intern categorize all the responses.

Though I’ve tended to agree with most of your changes, you need to make two things back to their original state. 1: Removing any tags of you in photos needs to be easier. Before the most recent update, removing tags was as simple as clicking “remove tag”. Now there is a lengthy process involved, you still are able to remove the tag, but it takes longer to do so. 2: Stop making the most commented story appear on the Facebook feed. By doing this, you make the popular stories even more popular and the less popular ones even less. It creates a sort of hierarchical status.


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Filed under Business Use, Social Media