This morning, the New York Times had a fairly extensive interview with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. It’s a good look at the many ways Facebook has already changed, and how the social media company expects to change over the next five to ten years.
Yes, five to ten years. We know you’ve been hearing all kinds of stories about Facebook’s decline – the flight of younger users to trendier platforms; business owners’ irritation at the severe limitation of organic reach of even the most popular posts – but the man in charge doesn’t seem too distressed. He acknowledges that Facebook is changing. The changes he describes have their roots in the public’s embrace of smartphones and tablets.
Mobile Changes Everything – Even Facebook
Facebook was built in an era when almost everyone’s primary computing device was the desktop computer. Some people had laptops, but today’s iPhones and tablets just didn’t exist. It made sense for all of Facebook’s functionality to reside in one site. But now smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous – more than 2/3rds of all Americans have one, and that percentage climbs steeply as we look at the wealthier end of the curve – Facebook’s original configuration just isn’t working well.
“In mobile, there’s a big premium on creating single-purpose, first-class experiences,” Zuckerberg says, explaining why Facebook is being ‘unbundled’. Rather than having every single function, such as messaging, embedded in a single, central site, Facebook is moving forward with multiple apps; each with a specific purpose and some with distinct names and branding.
It’s a transition we, as business owners, need to watch carefully. It’s not difficult at all to envision a future where we will have to look at our own digital presence in much the same way, determining what functionality that currently resides as a component of our websites, needs to be presented as a standalone component of our messaging specifically for the mobile audience.
Jewelers, for example, may find themselves presenting several single-purpose mobile experiences that allow customers to virtually try on designer jewelry, take the first steps toward having a custom piece of jewelry designed and created, or scheduling repairs to favorite or heirloom pieces.
This future is coming, and it’s coming fast. We don’t all need to move as quickly as Facebook, but we do all need to be aware of the fact that we’re going to have to address the needs of our mobile customers sooner rather than later. Want to talk about what’s involved in that? Give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you get started on the journey.