Facebook Rooms Brings Back the Chat Room
A/S/L? Is a question that anyone who visited a chat room during the 90’s glory days of AOL and ICQ can relate to. Talking with strangers and making new identities filled the after school life of teens for years. A few weeks ago Facebook announced their revised version of this concept, called Rooms, currently available only on iOS.
The Positives of the Facebook Rooms
After downloading the app users are prompted to either create their own room or join Room staff. Each room represents an interest which commands the sole discussion of the room. Once their choice is made, users are asked to create their name for that specific group. This provides for plenty of anonymity as names can change from one room to another. Each room has an Instagram-like feel, where photos and text take up all the space as users scroll down. People can interact with others through liking their posts and commenting on them as well. The like button is even customizable through text and emojis by the room’s curator.
Users can share their room via QR code, which can be distributed digitally, printed, or even scanned off of a friends phone screen. Posts are monitored through users, the room curator, and Facebook staff. Room curators can decide whether or not posts must be approved before posting, if the room is 18+, and if the room is private or public.
As with every new technology, there are issues with Rooms. The first of which is its lack of search feature. Users are not able to search for already made rooms and instead are encouraged to look for QR codes posted on Instagram. Hopefully Facebook will update this as the app develops. Another problem is the question of whether the idea will even take off. Facebook is not reinventing the wheel with this one and the real question is if people want a new form of chat rooms with all the other available methods of social communication.
Marketing Potential for Facebook Rooms
If Rooms takes hold there is plenty of marketing potential for the app. I’ve listed a few that have tangible ideas to start:
- Event/Conference Interaction: Creating a room for a conference or event could be an excellent feedback tool. Handing out cards with the rooms QR code would provide attendees with a space to comment, post, and provide feedback on how things are going. Event coordinators could give real-time updates of happenings by pinning them to the page as well.
- Support Groups: Creating a room for support of products or experiences is a great way to interact. Customers could ask questions about purchases and be given feedback all while in their chat app. They could get answers from customer service representative or even other customers who may have experienced similar issues.
- Brand Interaction: Brands, Celebrities, and the Internet famous could utilize this app for their own growth. Brands could have discussions with their consumers, poll ideas for new line extensions, and answer customer questions. Celebrities could have Q&A’s with their fans similar to a Reddit AMA, but they could be ongoing instead of for a specified amount of time. As YouTube continues to promote its homegrown talent, Rooms could become a necessary tool for its more famous users to answer questions, share their lives, and promote their brands. This could bring them even closer to their fans.
As anonymous sharing apps are on the rise, it will be interesting to see if people accept or reject Facebook’s offering of anonymity.