Facebook Messenger: Changing the Game

Facebook just officially announced that Messenger is becoming a platform.

This is really going to change the way we look at Facebook as a company, and the way users interact with Messenger as an app. It’s going to have a bigger impact than most things Facebook has done in the past.

Messaging on Facebook has always been an immensely personal experience. Stickers were a step in this direction — messaging felt more playful, but it felt more emotive. It took words out of the conversation, but added connection. Chatheads are the same way. It’s no coincidence that Facebook so prominently displays a profile picture that you can drag around your screen and open at anytime. Messenger is made to feel real & instant. Think about the sound effects. The familiar pop. The cool blue that mirrors iMessage. The funny typing animation. All of it is personal. That’s key.

Today’s announcement changes what people think of as personal. With the announcement of businesses being able to chat with customers on Facebook, it seems out of place at first. Why would I want to talk to FedEx about my package in Messenger? Why would I want Everlane side-by-side with my significant other on a chathead?

Because people hate friction.

Make no mistake- this is Facebook’s biggest asset. They’ve been pushing to get everyone on Messenger over the last few years, and they’ve largely succeeded. Messenger is a place where people are comfortable. You talk about your deepest fears on this app. You interact most organically with others on this app. Facebook, along with these businesses, is betting this sense of organic conversation will transfer to the next message thread. It will.

Facebook’s app is going to humanize what businesses are, and change the scope of ‘personal’. Sure, it will make them money. But that’s not what is important here: Facebook is proving their thesis that money flocks to social marketing. We’re going to see that businesses with good customer support will thrive. A human touch here will be most important.

So this leaves us with a taste of irony: though technology is key here, companies with the most natural support and the best trained employees are still going to win out. That’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

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