We all see the complaints. Facebook makes changes without warning then suffers the brutality of the social network it supports. This event is generally followed by backtracking and scrambling to “fix what they broke”. Let children run a company, nation or social behemoth and that’s what you’re going to get: unilateral decisions that don’t work the way their inexperience believes it will followed by backtracking for one reason – saving face. It happens in politics, too.
Granted I’ve made mistakes and I am fully capable of making more. Inexperience has given way to crotchetiness (is that a word?) and low blood-sugar powered decisions. When faced with a larger scale decision than where to eat, however, I have enough experience that says, “get counsel, listen to other people, measure twice – cut once”.
If I ran Facebook it probably wouldn’t exist. But let’s say they called today and offered me the presidency with a $100,000,000 salary plus perks. I’d say yes then here are some of the things I would consider. What I am really after is what would you do?
- No more surprise changes – everything would be beta tested by a wide slice of users similar to the way WordPress changes are proposed, debated, fine tuned, beta tested, fine tuned, debated, tweaked, then released. This may even include focus groups to read through proposed changes to policy and security measures.
- Make privacy easier to understand and control – I know from having hosted Social Media Edge for the last 3 years privacy is one of the biggest concerns on Facebook. People really aren’t sure how to find the privacy controls and then navigate the obfuscated interface to fine tune privacy controls. Privacy controls could quickly and easily be made more navigable by even the most average of Facebook users.
- Add the inverse of “Like” – you know you have seen things on your wall that you simply wanted to voice your opinion on without commenting when your emotion was not to “like” what was presented. Obviously someone very high up in the Facebook organization equated “don’t like” with “you’re not playing on our team because you’re a nerd”. Get over it, give the people a “Dislike” option.
- Share the wealth – let users participate in a revenue sharing program by sharing the wealth from clicks or impressions of ads on their pages. It’s not that difficult. Call me, I’ll do it for you.
- Require “Opt-In” for games and apps – instead of making the user individually block apps and games give them one choice to opt-out of all invites from any apps or any games. Would you invite someone to your house then set your laundry in their lap to have them fold it? If the answer is yes I don’t want to know.
- Sell vanity URLs – the one thing I know most people would pay for would be vanity URLs. Sure, they are free right now but why? This is the one revenue stream that wouldn’t tick off the users but would still allow a major annual income. I would pay $5 a year to have a custom URL for my business pages. With 1,000,000,000 pages that’s, uhm, you’re to college kid – you cipher it.
- Real customer support – want to be really different and really freindly? Have a team of thousands to answer stupid questions. Allow them to wait in a chat cue and give them ads to view while they are waiting if staff is not available. So long as the wait is under 5-10 minutes most people are going to be happier asking someone how to turn off SMS notifications than if they have to Google it and click on those Google ads while they are at someone else’s “I HATE FACEBOOK” site. (No brainer.)
Those are just some thoughts I have had. Like I said earlier what I really want to know is what would you do differently?