Recently, Facebook rolled out a new feature called Facebook Questions, aiming for a built-in poll interface that would allow people and pages to easily survey their friends and readers from time to time. What they forgot to put on the feature was the ability to ONLY poll friends or readers–every single question was pumped out on public feeds. The end result was that some questions went insanely viral, such as this one documented at the NetworkedEffect blog:
A single question by a random Facebook user accumulated four million votes in the last two weeks after it spread far beyond her friend group.
What’s funny is how this seems to have come about. A Facebook user named Heather Marie Hollingsworth posted to her Facebook friends on April 2, “Cleaning out my friends list in the next few days…Do you wanna stay?” with the options “Yes, keep me,” “Don’t Care” and “No, not really.”
As of this morning, “Yes, keep me” is winning by a landslide, with 3.98 million votes out of a total of 4.11 million.
We experimented with the questions interface too, but again were somewhat plagued by semantic issues of asking questions related to blog posts but appearing in newsfeeds without the related content. So John’s tie-in question “See nearby post. Now answer the question: What do you want people to do at your church website? You’re invited add your own option, or select from the options offered” wound up being nearby to all manner of non-Episcopal Cafe posts.
So perhaps it’s our own fault that one popular answer to “What do you want people to do at your church website?” is “Find what they are looking for.” Because we are pretty sure that there isn’t a single person who would want their website to not allow people to find what they are looking for, and perhaps another way to look at the question is how do we then anticipate what they are looking for. But that’s another question. Perhaps for another day–and perhaps for when Facebook improves the interface.
But Willis H.A. Moore had more to say about “finding what they are looking for.” His comment: “In the 21st Century, we are in information glut – – but people who DO COME to church are looking for something – – friendship, acceptance, succor, support, confort, fellowship. We need to be parishes who treat EACH person as an individual on a journey. GOD can be found in lots of places other than inside a church building!”
We might still use the question feature from time to time, but we’ll try to ensure it can stand on its own in the future.