I can hear the keyboards typing now. A new social media feature has been released! I’m sure a lot of people are probably in awe about FB’s new Place Tips feature and how it will drastically change the future of the web. And, it is interesting.
What are Place Tips?
According to Facebook, “Place tips show you more info about places you visit, including your friends’ photos, experiences and moments from that place.” FB’s news release says “Place tips will show you fun, useful and relevant info about the place you’re at.”
I think we’ve already played this game once before, haven’t we? Facebook used to show me relevant info about the places I “liked”. If Place Tips actually succeeded, I have to assume they will take the feature away from business owners and then charge them for it.
Most business owners I talk to just figured out in late 2014 that their posts do not reach ~95% of their followers that they worked so hard to get. And Facebook users have known for a long time that the feeds they subscribed to are just no longer there and that they are stuck seeing promoted ads. I have never once in my life met a single person who enjoys seeing paid ads instead of businesses that they took the time to follow. If I follow a company online it is because I have a genuine interest in what they sell and I want to see their updates. End of story.
The small business community is generally quite far behind with all things Internet. They dread algorithm changes that affect their way to reach people, and they certainly do they have a desire to stay on top of every little change. They just want to go online and say “Hey, our pizzas are half off today!” and be done with it. Anything beyond that basically pisses most of them off. Sure, there are ways to organically expand reach and I have personally accomplished this on multiple occasions, but for most small businesses, which I consider to be the heartbeat of America, this simply is not going to happen.
Do people trust Facebook?
Also, for this to work, you need location sharing turned on. Are people going to keep forking over data to Facebook? The CEO said himself users who trust him with their data are dumb f***s. In Mark’s defense maybe he has changed since then, or maybe it was just satire in a conversation he was having with a buddy, or maybe the repeated privacy violations, data mining, psychological affects, and recent emotional manipulation experiments paint a different picture. This article cites a poll where 84% of FB users say they have lost trust in FB.
Will people use Place Tips?
To top this all off, who is even using Facebook? Is the generation that could benefit from this even on there? Are they not all over on Instagram? Most of my friends use FB, but they tell me “it is because they have to”. Do they want an app that requires GPS and data sharing and WiFi on that sucks down battery life just to use a “tips” feature? When I want to get information on a business the very last place that comes to mind is checking FaceBook.
Why Place Tips is interesting
The geolocation feature Place Tips is interesting, I’ll give it that.
I have been waiting for something to come along that displays information from nearby places. And, Facebook definitely has a boatload of users. Maybe it does have some sort of potential.
Wait, doesn’t Yelp do this?
Yelp does most of the same stuff and more and does a great job at it. I love using Yelp to find local businesses. But, people are also frustrated with Yelp because their Yelp reviews don’t always display. On Yelp I can connect with other people who have the same interest as myself. For example, many of my friends like fast food; I like farm to fork. Some enjoy fine wine; I like craft beer. Maybe I am the odd man out here, but I’m not a Facebook user and honestly do not care which of my friends enjoyed what cupcake where- their tastes are very different than mine. If it was THAT good they’ve told me in person.
Failure is not a bad thing
While I don’t think Place Tips is going to get off of the ground, I could be wrong. And, I am huge fan of failure. Even if this fails I’m not going dance around and say “I told you so”… It doesn’t mean that Facebook can not learn something epic from it. Anyone successful knows that failures are nothing more than stepping stones to success. If Facebook wants to progress, they’re going to need to come up with new ideas, and a lot of them aren’t going to work. This just means that some will.