Wednesday, May 4, 2016

3 Action Items on introducing new features to social media platforms

As a social media UX researcher, you might be excited about Facebook Live, a live broadcast system recently introduced by Facebook. As an undergraduate student studying Communication Studies and Integrated Marketing Communication, I was very excited about this new feature, but at the same time, could find varying opinions on it. Here are two articles I found with different viewpoints on the new feature of the social media giant.

The first article, "How Facebook Is Leaving Google in the Dust With its Live Video and Messaging Updates" by Jillian D’Onfro from, sees the new feature as an opportunity of Facebook to surpass its competitor, Google. According to the article, Facebook Live will directly stand against the live streaming feature of Youtube in the aspect that it opened up the streaming to the public. Also, D’Onfron writes that the new feature will be a new source of “huge advertising potential.” Along with Facebook Live, D’Onfro praises Facebook also for its ongoing research on “chatbots". She says that it will be a future for users to “get a wide variety of information and services from chat, like buying a shirt, ordering an Uber, making a dinner reservation, buying tickets to a show, checking their flight status, and more” and that this will keep “people on Messenger and off of Google search.”

The second article, “Facebook Live is the next big thing in media — after the last big thing (and the thing before that)” by Jason Abbruzzese from Mashable, in contrast, expresses a worrisome opinion on the new feature. He quotes the people who have concern over whether the feature will create enough revenue for the investors. Even though this kind of concern exists among the public, Abbruzzese also mentions the promising future of the feature by saying that Facebook Live, already equipped with high quality contents, viewer communities and publishers, will be a unique live viewing experience as well as a social commentary experience, which cannot be provided by the traditional TV industry.

As an undergraduate student studying Integrated Marketing Communication and Computer Mediated Communication, I have developed three action items on introducing and developing new technological features on social media.

-  Be Inclusive: Once you have a technology, think of different populations who can use it. Allowing public to use the technology or even expanding and improving the technology for broader populations including older adults and people with disabilities can make a new opportunity for the technology to be used widely.
-  Be Real-Time: People want more and more for the channel of mutual communication. Breaking the concept of traditional broadcasting system might be expected from the social media channels.  
-  Be Sustainable: No matter how groundbreaking a technology is, it should be able to sustain itself in the long term by making revenues to attract investors and to ensure lasting development.
When you have a new technology but have difficulties in introducing it to the public, these action items might be helpful to think of.

Chelsea Kim: I am currently an undergraduate student at Northwestern University majoring in Communication Studies and completing Medill Integrating Marketing Communications Certificate. I am graduating in June 2016 and joining PhD program at UC Davis Communication Department. I am interested in studying inclusive technologies and using social media platforms to make people’s lives better. Please feel free to connect with me or share your feedback on Twitter @chelsea_kim1 or LinkedIn.

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