Social media is one of the most widely discussed topics today. From news reports targeted at concerned parents to tech blogs that cater to the titans of Silicon Valley, social media has become one of the 21st Century’s hot-button topics. With all of the buzz surrounding the monetization of social media and its supposed detrimental effects on social interaction, these discussions often ignore the most basic ideas of social media in order to discuss and analyze its secondary effects. As such, very few people ever seem to discuss the original concept behind social media: finding new ways to bring people closer. However, Facebook’s latest app is designed to bring the social network back to basics, at least for a select few.
On July 17, Facebook announced Mentions, a new app that gives verified public figures and celebrities far greater access to their legions of followers than ever before, with an emphasis on streamlined and accessible communication. The app permits celebrities and verified users to track what their fans are saying about them and post comments of their own, to share updates, photos, and videos, to host live Q&A sessions, to view the posts of others that they follow, and to receive tailored notifications that reflect mentions and the social clout of their posts. On average, Facebook users log an average of one billion interactions with their favorite celebrities each and every week. This latest app will allow celebrities to manage and view these interactions in the most efficient manner, which will theoretically encourage increased responses to users.
This latest development is quite similar to Twitter’s Mentions feature, which allows celebrities and verified users to track user engagement on a real-time basis. It’s part of the larger trend of breaking down the barriers of communication between celebrities and their followers that has also given rise to Gwyneth Patlrow’s GOOP and Blake Lively’s Preserve websites, both of which are geared toward sharing their respective lifestyles with their fans.
Currently, this feature is only available to registered US users. However, Facebook plans to debut the feature internationally after further development. The app is currently available for mobile download and can also be requested via a verified page. There’s currently no way to know if these design innovations will trickle down to mainstream Facebook, but this app does represent an encouraging sign that Facebook and its competitors haven’t forgot the true purpose of social media: bringing people together.
[Sources: Inside Facebook, Facebook Newsroom]