Is Facebook Questions As Simple As It Seems?

Facebook Questions

I was just about to investigate Quora (probably should have done this before now) when I saw a few comments on Twitter about the recent rollout of “Facebook Questions.” Last I heard, Questions was in beta testing, but then I forgot about it. (Should I even admit that?)  Anyway, if you’re interested in Questions but haven’t yet activated it, you can do so at www.facebook.com/questions.  And here’s what you get:

Questions allows you to ask a question which is then shared in your NewsFeed, thereby allowing feedback from both your friends and other people on Facebook (in essence, friends of your friends).  It’s really simple; in fact it may be too simple.  For instance, I clicked on the Questions icon on my homepage and found that one of my friends had already answered questions on two of the most profound issues facing us today:  Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi?  Do you prefer the Chicago Cubs or the Chicago White Sox?  (So far, Coke is preferred by 1,209,580 people vs. Pepsi at 974,598 people; the Cubs are preferred by 186,622 people vs. 143,685 people.)  That’s interesting, I guess.  But does it really pass the “so what” test?

Maybe I’m being too critical since the questions could get more profound as this feature gains momentum, but as Facebook states: “You can ask any type of question, but Questions was designed to help you get fast, short-form responses.”  So, it’s hard to imagine any real, illuminating dialogue coming from Questions – even though a Comments feature can be brought into play.  I can, however, see how marketers might be enthralled.  

For instance, marketers could ask a question about their product and then claim victory if the answers turn out in their product’s favor. Coke could certainly do this, citing the results of the Coke vs. Pepsi question as evidence of a taste preference.  And, it sure beats standing in front of a grocery store and filming scores of people taste-testing their products. Based upon your Question responses, marketers could also attempt to dig deeper into your product preferences by sending you a direct message.  

Is this where Questions is going?  Are we now being drawn into a marketing coup d’etat?  Or, is it as simple as Facebook’s Adrian Graham declares, i.e., they noticed that people were frequently asking for their friends’ opinions so they began thinking about how this interaction could be more useful, easier and faster to implement. They also thought it would be more interesting if it “cast a wider net” (enabling not just your friends to answer, but their friends too).

I don’t know.  I think the jury is out.  What do you think?  Vote now!

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