Some time back, I had applied to a startup for a Strategy intern position, and as a part of application, I had to answer some interesting questions. One of them included what would I like to see in Facebook. I didn’t want to delay the application, and submitted whatever I could think of in 30-40 minutes (and have sometimes thought of inadvertently). Thought of sharing this on the blog…

What is facebook missing that you would like to see?

I would like to answer it from two perspectives: the end user’s perspective and a product manager’s perspective. Of course, the Product Manager needs to pay attention to what the end user wants too, but very often, for evolving services like Social Media, the end user doesn’t clearly know what he wants, and may end up stating some obvious answers, derived mostly from comparison from other similar services. It’s the product-management that comes up with ideas that gradually become a part of end-user’s experience. For example: How many of us thought that we need to “Like” a status update or a photo posted by one of our friends? Most of the time, a comment like “Kool dude!” or “Nice picture” did the job. And now that Facebook has introduced the concept of “Liking”, it has become an integral part of end-user’s Facebook experience. We are so used to “Liking” now that we have started missing a “Dislike” button!

Anyway, without further adieu, some features I would like to see from the end-user’s perspective. All responses are in voice of a generic end-user, not necessarily me!!

  • Personalized recommendations: I have listed what my favorite books and movies are. You even know what I have been doing lately. I have just listed Spanish in my list of languages, and added a couple of Spanish movies in my favorite movies list. You know the tastes of my friends with whom I hang out the most.  Why can’t you help me figure out which movie or book I should try out next (a la Netflix)? Or maybe you can send a mail when a theater play that I would love is in town. You exactly know what I want, don’t you? So, why can’t you share your knowledge about me with me? I am even ready to tell you the names of the movies I detested, or the actors I can’t stand if that helps!
  • An “Unsubscribe” button: I love to congratulate a friend when he changes his status from “In a relationship” to “Married”, or to tell another how cute she looks in the Chinese dress she just tried for a photo. But what I absolutely hate is that flurry of comments/mail notifications that will follow, because all friends of my friends would like to add a comment too!! In fact, I have stopped commenting on some of my friend’s updates because I know that they have a huge following, and one small comment is going to spam my mailbox for next seven days! I don’t want you to stop the mail-notifications completely, because many a times, I actually want to be a part of the conversation. But can you offer me a simple “unsubscribe” button that I can click as soon as I make a comment, or may be when I know that the conversation has nothing interesting for me?   (FB does provide an unsubscribe option for conversation on groups, but not at individual account level)
  • Testimonials: I know my friends love me, but I want the whole world to know how awesome I am. Okay! Okay! Not the whole world, just that new, cute girl on the campus, whom I plan to send a Facebook friend request soon! I have tons of recommendations on LinkedIn that describe my professional excellence, but can I have some testimonials from my friends that tell everyone, how caring and/or cool I am! (Even that arcane Social media site Orkut allowed these!!)

For the Product Manager’s take, click here.

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6 Comments on What can be added to Facebook’s next update?

  1. Ankit Joshi says:

    good stuff buddy 🙂

  2. Bhavya says:

    I have to say Bhatti tumhara writing style completely Americanize ho gaya hai! By the way, I was also bothered by the flurry of comments that follow after you congratulate someone on a wedding or a baby… not so much now that I have a filter to archive and label all FB mail. Then you know it’s not extremely important mail and you can get to it when you want to, and just delete everything that you don’t want to actually read before deleting

  3. lolz!!! amazing comment!

  4. Sayan says:

    Was that number three suggestion something you are missing sirjee 😉

  5. Amit Bhatnagar says:

    @Bhavya: Americanized? Woh bhi completely? 😮 I didn’t notice the change!
    @Sayan: Of course! I’d like to have all three features, I have listed above, though my reasons may different than the ones listed in the post! 🙂 Did you miss the disclaimer: “All responses are in voice of a generic end-user, not necessarily me!!”? 🙂

  6. Harsha says:

    Nice post. Read both the perspectives. So did they like your analysis?

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