Facebook introduces a new app called Paper on 3 February. Note that this is in the US app store, and they have not yet publicised when it will be available in other countries – but hopefully not long behind. Click on the image above to view the video and learn more. I’m writing another post at the moment on how Facebook has changed for business over the last five years…this post will be available in a few days….but what it comes down to is there has been a lot of discussion from both businesses and individuals about Facebook lately and a level of frustration with it. I wrote a post last year called Frenzy to Fatigue to Focus and think that many are heading towards a possible “fatigue” level with Facebook. It seems to me that this app is Facebook’s attempt to bring some more focus.
Why Facebook Fatigue? Individuals want to interact with their friends, and don’t want to be bombarded with advertising while they do so. Businesses want to reach their target audience and don’t want to pay (excessive amounts) for it. Facebook need to make their massive service relevant, reliable and profitable – but have said for some time on their login screen “it’s free and always will be” – so really need advertising to cover the service as they can’t charge a membership. However if they annoy the masses with too much advertising, they will leave. Google+ is already waiting in the wings as an alternative service.
However what I like about Facebook Paper after watching the video is that it seems to be a cleaner, more logical way to browse Facebook. I really like the focus on “stories”. It’s storytelling that has been an inherent part of human nature since long before Facebook. It’s also this concept I’ve been teaching businesses in the Zestee Social Media School for some time – to reach your (potential) customers on social media, you need to not just sell but tell your story. It seems that this app will put individual stories and business stories on equal footing, a trend that has already begun with the newsfeed. It will be interesting what the fee structures will be for organisations to take part. Either way though, many people don’t mind stories from a business – as long as they choose to follow (or like) that business and can “opt out” (unlike) if they wish. Personally, I think it puts pressure on business to entertain, delight and tell a story instead of just selling – and I like this shift.
The name Paper is also clever – it brings in that traditional sense of communication that many of us still have an attachment to. I don’t know about you, but as much as I am totally addicted to my technology – right now I am typing on my MacBook and have an iPad and iPhone next to me, I still love paper. Books, notepads and reems of printer paper and slowly reducing but still very much part of my daily life.
This new app also recognises that so many of us are now mobile and viewing Facebook on smartphones and tablets. By highlighting pretty pictures and compacting information into a format that suits these devices is shows Facebook are on top of this trend.
So keep an eye out for Paper and let us know in a comment of what you think!
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