I think Facebook can be saved, although it cannot continue in the path it has created for itself. Mobile should not be a problem, it should be a welcome challenge to make a change. In addition to mobile, I have noticed other things that seem to be crushing the social network giant. My concern is not only for the network themselves, but also for the countless companies, applications and games that rely on it and if Facebook loses its power, so do the many sites that rely on it.
I for one always have ideas, I am a “marketing obsessive” for the love of all that is holy, so I thought I would share my thoughts here. Love me or hate me as you will.
Privacy options simply need to be more obvious
This is a problem. Most of the complaints I hear about Facebook are typically concerns that are always easily solved within the account options. There are a ton of options but it seems like no one is aware of them. I hear a complaint and then I follow up the complaint with “you know you can change that setting, right?” and they follow up with, “no, how do I do that?” and of course that is always followed up with me “training” them how to change their privacy settings, application settings, etc. It should be a lot more obvious than that.
So what is the solution? I think an “account option wizard” would be a good solution for now. I mean something simple, that anyone can read can work. It should have simple questions to answer that goes through nearly all of the settings and when a new game or application is installed, or a new friend is requested/introduced
I know some kids would kill me, even my daughter for even bringing this up BUT I am not suggesting parental changes that allow a parent to see EVERYTHING in the account, but the option to monitor friend requests, applications and perhaps set a curfew to their account.
So how many kids have FB accounts that are underage? I allowed my daughter one, but I had the password. Why not allow it in such a way that the parent sets it up under their account much like a page? It would allow the child to log in and manage their page just like anyone else would however if a new friend request came in or an application is added, the parental would have to approve it first. The parental could also set up time constraints on the page, i.e. not having access after 9pm on a school night.
I know some people will think that I am spawn of the dark one for even mentioning this but I have a 13 year old daughter so cut me some slack. We have parental controls on cell phones, computers and even on our TV’s, so why not this too? I think it would increase user ability and “approval rate” of the parental units, such as myself.
Personal and private profiles
People in our professional lives want to see our FB profiles so why not show them? I know this can be mostly set through privacy settings, however I think we should have a “professional” tab that shows much like a LinkedIN profile that we can publicly show to everyone. When friends are requested and added, we can select which “profile” they see. We can set which default profile our ‘likes’ go to, etc. It would be quite a feat, however it would be beneficial. I would love to be able to connect my LinkedIN profile, blog, etc to my FB profile and it would endorse transparency for job seekers and employers.
Facebook needs a re-design
I know, everybody goes in their backyard and has a large cow the second FB makes any kind of change but I say get over it. Change is good, embrace it and if you want FB to survive, it is a necessity. I am getting pretty sick of every single “Buddypress” site looking exactly like FB and I think it is starting to look outdated and clunky. I think a complete re-design would be the ticket. A fresh face to embrace some new features.
Facebook needs money
OK they don’t need money, but they will if they don’t figure out a way to generate income. Advertising has become quite an annoyance for Facebook users however we do not see any ads on the mobile application and I think there should be an incentive. Cold hard cash. How many of us would “opt-in” to showing our advertising “likes” if we received a monthly chunk of the revenue? Squidoo has been doing something similar for years and it works. The amount for each user wouldn’t be much, however, over time it would add up. I think the option for cash payout or Zynga dollars/FB credits would be a beneficial revenue generator if integrated properly.
Think about it…it would be 100% “opt-in” so it would not be forced on anyone and those that “opt-in” get revenue share based on their level of activeness. It would be a tricky algorithm but I think worth exploring. As far as mobile goes, I think ads can be integrated into their feed in a “non-obtrusive” way for opt-in users. Users that don’t opt in will still see the ads like normal but if they block them with one of the Firefox or Chrome add-ons.
Would You Opt-In to Facebook Ad Revenue Share?
Premium business pages
I have thoughts that Premium Business Pages could include free FB advertising, an enhanced front page that just look more professional and has many more customization options, allows premium eCommerce applications, LinkedIN and Twitter connections and more. Users that actively participate in these business pages could be eligible for “revenue share” points, credits or whatever if something like that would ever fly.
I also believe that some of the new apps that are being developed, notably the eCommerce apps should be charged to be used. This would not only benefit FB, but it will also encourage only serious vendors to sell items through their FB business page and this could be integrated into a premium business page.
These 6 ideas are just thoughts that pop into my head. There is a lot of speculation that Facebook is “going down”,but why does it have to? We all have to evolve and adapt to technology so to me, it should be no different with a company, website or a large social network.