Let’s talk about Facebook: The good, the bad and the bots


The Good
This week, Facebook announced updates to its live streaming service. Live video isn’t new for Facebook—celebrities have been streaming since last summer and it started rolling out for regular profiles not long after. Wednesday’s announcement brings a new level of interactivity to the stream, allowing viewers to react real time.

If more interactive video makes you think of SnapChat’s recent release, remember that Facebook isn’t just about sharing bridging the virtual distance between friends.  They’re luring in publishers and making sure video is hard to miss in your news feed. And they’ve got 1.9 billion users ready to tune it, right?

Well… kind of. Publishers are still on the fence about it all, and let’s not forget that autoplay can make viewer numbers look better than they are. Plus, there’s plenty of competition for attention, both from newer apps like SnapChat and established players like YouTube and Twitter, who just won the rights to Thursday Night Football.


The Bad
While we’re being cynical, let’s not forget the other bit of Facebook news that has everyone talking. According to an article in The Information (paid subscription) Facebook employees discovered that while people are still sharing plenty, but very little of it is original content. With everyone from your high school classmates to your coworkers on Facebook, users are opting to put their personal posts, well, somewhere more personal.

Watching all that user engagement (and associated page views) slip away has Facebook nervous. They’re hatching a plan to woo us back, one status update at a time.

And for all of the brands creating the content that’s currently dominating our feeds? To borrow some advice from Samuel L. Jackson, “Hold on to your butts.” We’re likely to see adjustments to timelines as Facebook tries to recapture the magic, like the major shift in the branded content policy.


The Bots
Facebook Messenger and bots were the big, big focus at the Facebook F8 conference. Chatbots aren’t new, but they’re getting better at handling routine tasks. Facebook thinks that soon, instead of opening a new app for each task, you’ll be able to do everything from order flowers to get the news just by sending a message.

Facebook isn’t alone in their bot love. Messaging app Kik announced a new BotShop, which integrates automated messages from companies like Sephora, H&M and Vine into the platform. NBC News partnered up with LINE, a chat app based in Japan. Google, Slack and Microsoft are all eyeing bots are the new hotness (botness?).

Heck, even Taco Bell is in on the action. Bots don’t get more Mas than that.

About the author:
Tara Saylor is a communications manager by day, grad student by night and curious all the time. She is also a web nerd and recovering copywriter. Tara focuses on the channels that enable communication and using metrics to improve communication effectiveness. She tweets about communication and combines as @AnokheeTara.