I’ve been thinking a bit about how I use social networks and how it continues to evolve. Increasingly, I find myself wanting to consume Facebook’s myriad set of products and services as discrete applications, especially on mobile devices.
The core Facebook UI is burdened with having to do a lot. It has to be able to show me what my friends are doing and accommodate the myriad sources of information publishing into the system – news articles, status updates, photos, Connect-enabled websites, and (soon) all of the Open Graph activity. As the amount of information streaming into the feed continues to grow, this will not get easier.
Using the core Facebook app on mobile is becoming time-consuming. While I am fairly click tolerant on my laptop, I am impatient when I’m on my mobile devices. It takes too many clicks and too much interaction with navigation elements to get to where I want to be in the core Facebook mobile app. And there are too many distractions – if I want to send messages, I want to get to messaging as quickly as possible. Same with photos. Or games (once they’re available). I don’t actually want to browse my feed, events, etc in that case.
That’s why it took me a while to grasp why Facebook broke Facebook Messenger out as a separate product. I find myself using Messenger a lot more than the core Facbook mobile application. Using Messenger is simply more convenient than navigating through the core app when I just want to send messages. And I find myself using FB messages more and more these days as a way to communicate with people. Having the ability to get in and out of the app quickly is a real plus. I suspect I’ll feel the same way about photos once that app is available too.
Originally, I had suspected that Facebook broke out messenger as a separate product to blunt the growth of the free text messaging products (TextPlus, Pinger, etc.) and mobile group messaging products (Kik, GroupMe, Fast Society, etc). The more I use Messenger, though, the more I believe it’s less reactive and more proactive. I’ll be curious to see how they continue to roll out other discrete apps and how it changes my own usage patterns.
As always, you can leave a comment below or respond on Twitter @chudson.