Sometimes I think the Borg have arrived.
In case you’re not a Star Trek fan, the Borg are a race of cybernetic organisms with a hive mind and a nasty habit of saying “resistance is futile.” Then they assimilate you.
Facebook is getting to feel a bit like that. I don’t even like the platform all that much, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to stay away from the company. Maybe it’s because Mark Zuckerberg is really smart. Or maybe it’s because he’s trying to make this a Facebook world.
At F8 2016, Facebook’s annual developers conference, Zuckerberg laid out his 10-year plan for moving from being an ecosystem (Facebook) to a product-based company (think Instagram, Messenger, video) to a technology company (think virtual reality, drones, and artificial intelligence). He also talked about some of the things Facebook is working on, including efforts to beam Internet access to untouched and underserved areas of the world.
Facebook is evolving.
Okay, we knew that already — but it’s going to start happening soon in ways that are transformative. It’s not just virtual reality trips or 360-degree views of your next home. It’s also the potential of applying artificial intelligence to help deaf or vision-impaired people navigate the world or deploying satellites to address global challenges.
The chat bots are coming.
Up to now I’ve resisted using Facebook’s Messenger app. (Have you seen the list of permissions it requires?) Which means I install it when I really need to pick up a message and then uninstall it a few minutes later. The next time, however, I think it might have to stay because Facebook is morphing Messenger into a business platform. From Facebook:
Bots can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates to customized communications like receipts, shipping notifications, and live automated messages — all by interacting directly with the people who want to get them. The Messenger Send / Receive API will support not only sending and receiving text, but also images and interactive rich bubbles containing multiple calls-to-action.
Essentially, Facebook has found a way for businesses to join dark social. Dark social is a term often used to describe the sharing and interactions that people have outside the public web (i.e., when we send a link via email or share something via text). It’s going to be important to watch how this works — and how people react. Not to mention thinking about how your business might take advantage.
Your brand is live.
The other immediately relevant big development coming out of F8 2016 was the introduction of instant video streaming. This means that companies now have the capacity to hold a CEO conversation, stream an event, or just live video chat with customers — within Facebook. As video becomes increasingly integral to Facebook, it’s going to be more important than ever that it is woven into a company’s DNA. Your brand is live – and you need to be able to define what that looks and feels like for your business.
Finally, Facebook did open up Instant Articles for everyone. It may have gotten lost in all the big news, but it’s still a big deal for every organization with a Facebook page.
Feature photo by ghatamos (Flickr).