Cultural Studies Observations on Facebook, Graph Search, Pay-to-Message

The prequel to Facebook announcing Graph Search was an announcement that you could pay $100 to directly message Mark Zuckerberg in a project Facebook was testing to find optimal pay-to-message rates. I do not think these two announcements are unrelated. Soon you will probably search all of Facebook’s database, see people you don’t know who fit the bill for your query and have the opportunity to pay to communicate with them (without going through the Friending process…) [Similar to what you can do on LinkedIn]. Just a thought: so search queries like, “All single women in the Twin Cities who like beer” or “All single women in the Twin Cities who have been to Stellas”, men will now pay to message those ladies’ profiles. Will such behavior be seen as acceptable, or will the FB community think it is the evolution of “Creeper Status” having gone from looking at all of someone’s profile (pictures, etc) to trying to go around the self-built wall some have put up of not accepting all friend requests and using privacy settings to stay un-crept-on? Is paying to message someone just another tool for those who cannot “take a hint”? And if there is no guarantee the recipient will open (and “hopefully” respond), then Facebook is once again exploiting the human desire to have the attention of people who one currently does not have the attention of. You think people want to already meet Michael Jordan..? Wait till people can realize the many Facebook likes they have in common with MJ, further solidifying the fascination with Air Jordan and making them feel closer to ‘being like Mike’ (below).

So the idea of paying a $500 FB fee to message him on Facebook for a slim chance that he’d react seems like a no-brainer if you were already willing to stand in line for hours out in the cold for a slim chance of getting an autograph. #culturalstudies

~ by Adam Maikkula on January 16, 2013.

2 Responses to “Cultural Studies Observations on Facebook, Graph Search, Pay-to-Message”

  1. Adam, do you think it will be likely that corporations/companies will use this as low cost advertising? Your example of ‘beer drinking women in Twin Cities’ could be a very tight demographic for a certain beverage company. This is what I fear more than individual to individual messages. Or is this a new money stream for FB – direct advertising – instead of the goofy ads that run along side my home page.

    • From the looks of it, I’m guessing if the Pay-To-Message feature is turned on, there will be some spam filters involved to make sure the communication is deemed valuable by the recipient. This might sound crazy considering the fact that if a person wants to pay $100 to spam a celebrity, by all means do so…But, Facebook wants this feature to stick around rather than be a timely feature. So, I think there would be efforts to clean up the messages so the sender feels validated paying for the right to send, and the recipient perceives value in opening/interacting with the message(s). My 2 cents 🙂

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