It started with a simple rant on my face book page. In recent weeks I’ve resorted to turning my Facebook Chat to offline status as I become more and more resistant to using it. I hate the constant problems that make a simple two minute conversation a mission of typing and retyping your reply as Facebook logs you in and out of chat, with the end result that the person on the other end of the chat eventually getting a raft of about ten replies all exactly the same. Were it not for the fact that this is a problem we all face, I am sure most people would jump to the conclusion that we have an online stutter were such a thing possible.
On a rear occasion I logged in a couple of days ago and spotted that a friend was online. In many ways I wished I’d not noticed him, because I naively hopped that I’d be able to chat to him, only to discover that beyond “Hi” and “How are you?” There was very little else that we could say to each other. In a rage I logged out and put a rant in my status line, to get a response from several other people on my page that were experiencing the same frustrations. Among ourselves we had a bit of a grumble when someone suggested that I should write a blog about it. Goes to show how much my close friends know that I’ve become addicted to writing. Jokingly I suggested starting a petition to a positive response from my friends.
As I’d suggested it jokingly, I had not seriously considered the impact it would have or to what level it’d get any support. I pretty much thought it was just a mad rant in the heat of the moment. However, it began to play around in my mind. Facebook have a market share approaching the population of the United States of America according to online news agencies. So let’s assume that’s around a hundred million people all using Facebook. There is that wonderful bridge in that Facebook chat crosses the divide of Mac or PC and allows you to chat with people that in one part of the world fundamentally use AIM or Yahoo Messenger while east of the Atlantic you tend to find that the masses use MSN Messenger or SKYPE. So suddenly through the medium of Facebook you find your able to talk to people that normally you’d need to resort to emails to communicate with. What a fantastic idea, if only it worked.
Considering that Facebook have this ideal market position, it must present them with a phenomenal power for anyone wishing to advertise. Targeted advertising on a scale never before reached in the world of marketing must make Facebook a dream to the commercial giants. It must mean that it is also a dream for the owners of Facebook as a guaranteed source of income presents itself daily as more and more people resort to using their social media platform in order to keep up with the latest trends. You’d begin to think then that the owners of Facebook would pretty much want to ensure that they remain the premier choice for Social Media and invest some time and effort into keeping their services working. After all history has proved time after time that when you lose focus on the services you provide, you give your competitor a chance to outwit you. I have a sneaky suspicion that Facebook’s owners are in the mindset that Social Media sites have a shelf life and they’ll therefore spend as little as possible while raking in the money so when the bottom does fall out of their gem, they won’t really care.
Having thought that through, I decided to try find out how many people felt the same. How many members of Facebook have found that its Chat platform is inconsistent, unreliable and frustrating to use. To do this I chose to use Facebook at what it does best, gather people into groups. And so was born the Facebook Petition to sort out its Chat Platform. An online Facebook group of people who want to send Facebook a message to sort its chat program out, and tell its competitors that if there is something that you can do to make us change our minds, this would be one of them. Almost 700 people joined in just over a week. Now that has to be telling you something. The results so far have even surprised me, but then again when you find something that gets under peoples skin, like the frustration that they experience when trying to use a chat program that doesn’t work, then action to produce a change will get all the support it needs from the masses. The warning shots been fired, the people have a voice. Let’s hope Facebook sort it out, or someone else comes up with a new idea that includes all the functionality of Facebook with a reliable chat program and some other unique bits and bobs, and becomes the next big thing online.