Facebook is still finding ways to solve the decline of personal sharing on its platform in recent years.
In 2016, a report advised that original sharing on the social network dropped 5.5 percent between 2014 and 2015, with personal sharing dropping 21 percent over that period. It reportedly pushed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to brainstorm with his staff, thinking of new ways to stir more personal sharing.
Recently, Facebook has increased the frequency of reminders to motivate users into sharing about their lives and experiences, such as On This Day and seasonal events.
The company uses the data provided by its users for ad targeting, as personal sharing engages users and boosts retention. The new News Feed version that splits Page content and updates from connections into two lists serves the same purpose.
Open Facebook and click the composer window. You will see a new prompt with an option to Answer a Question. Click on that button and it will generate a random question.
Click on New Question, scroll until you find a question you want to answer, and tap Add answer. A new post layout will pop up with the question on top. You may also pick a color for the background.
After you post the update, your connections will see it. As Facebook would have it, some connections will respond to it and push more personal interactions. A proof that the social network will try anything to keep its users engaged.
The new option comes with little fanfare because Facebook did not announce the new Answer a Question button. But it will roll out across all supported platforms this week.
On your personal profile, a similar process allows you to answer a question about yourself. It helps visitors know more about you.
Although a bit forced, the update can spark conversations, especially on how your family and friends will respond to you answer.
Where People Are Going
While Facebook continues to look for ways to boost personal sharing, the question is where this type of sharing is going. Why are Facebook users sharing less when they are spending more time on the platform?
Through the years, Facebook has grown rapidly to somewhere near ubiquity. With this rise comes concerns about security and privacy concerns about recording personal events daily for everyone to see.
Facebook offers an interactive, intuitive environment to stay connected with family friends. But we still need privacy to some extent and to speak freely without offending anyone.
The trend in social media is moving toward private conversations, away from the seemingly judgmental eye of the public.
For brands, marketers will find it increasingly hard to insert into isolated dialogs. But Chatbots come into mind. And other automated tools that can help manage connections better and faster. The coming year will unfold the potential of these tools.
The push in personal sharing is a win-win for Facebook. If it doesn’t work as it expected, the company also owns the two largest private messaging platforms: Messenger and WhatsApp, each with more than 1.3 billion users. Imagine the amount of data the social networking company can pull from these two.
While Facebook wants to retain engagement in its main app, it also has other options to cover different user interests. In this case, the company will continue its trend to acquire new platforms to spread its portfolio.