Bring the Poke Back 2017

Over the last week or so something interesting happened, I actually actively used Facebook in a way that I haven’t in years. But, before I explain how and why, it’s important to take a step back.

I’ve been on Facebook since 2010, my 14th birthday that year to be exact. Ever since then I’ve engaged with the platform in various different ways, but I have noticed a trend. My engagement is super low. Compared to services like Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Youtube, and Snapchat, I am hardly ever on Facebook. I post even less often.

Part of this, in my opinion, is the lack of user generated content on Facebook. These days my feed is a cluttering of memes, videos, and news articles. Almost none of this content is created by my friends.

Compare this to platforms like Youtube and Snapchat, where almost all content is user generated. I just feel as though I am connecting with my friends on a more personal level outside on social media outside of Facebook.

Facebook knows this as well. Citing declining use in user sharing as their reasoning for developing the camera platform most see as a mimcry of Snapchat.

So how then did I find myself constantly on Facebook? My friend Isaac is to blame. Isaac, a good friend of mine, starting a chain reaction with a simple post and action.

This accompanied with a “poke” in my inbox got things started. After creating this status my friend Isaac proceeded to poke pretty much everybody he knew. This included a ton of our mutual friends.

This pretty much led to all out war.

I was consistently going back and forth poking about four or so friends at any given moment. It was the longest amount of time I’ve spent on Facebook in year.

It reminded me of something important. The brands, high produced content, and advertising aren’t what makes a social media site special, friends are. Fun little gimmicks like the poke keep people in contact and create a sense of community online. I’d love to see Facebook capitalize on what makes it special, rather than copy what they see succeeding in the social media space.

I think what is needed is a reinvention of the poke. Something simple and easy to do, a quick nudge to let someone know you’re thinking about them. I’d love to see a UI design that makes pokes updated to the modern time. They are unfortunately shoe horned into the existing Facebook app with an ugly, outdated and glitchy design.

If only Facebook could see the potential in their own platform. Now I’m not saying Facebook could be fixed with the implementation of a better poke system. I just think they should capitalize off of what makes the poke special.

If you want these hands, feel free and poke me.