Facebook is launching a new service called Questions, where users will be able to ask their friends anything that ends in a question mark. That can’t be great news for Fabulis.
The gay men-only social network thrives on readers asking other people questions. You get bits (Fabulis’ currency) for posing questions; bits for answering them; and a whole lot of spam email if you forget to disable your notification settings, because I’m pretty sure Fabulis’ system generates automatic “anonymous” questions for you to answer just so you’ll keep visiting the site. So how is Facebook going to encroach on Fabulis’ territory? Cnet explains:
About 1 percent of Facebook users will have early beta access to Facebook Questions, and it will be gradually rolled out to the rest of Facebook’s 500-million-plus active users after that. Any Facebook user can ask a question from a new “question dashboard,” the profile “publisher” that lets members update their statuses and add photos, or through the search box. They can tag their questions with category keywords, too, and those tags will eventually be used to fill up an aggregate “questions” tab on relevant Community Pages on Facebook. Of particular interest is the fact that a brand’s “fan page” on Facebook will be able to ask questions too, as well as respond to other questions, providing an opportunity for some “conversational” marketing and impromptu market research.
Oh great. We’ve already got to deal with corporations running elections. Now they’ll run our Facebook conversations, too.
But what Facebook has latched on to is a habit users are already engaged in there and on services like Twitter: Using crowdsourcing to come up with answers to their queries. How was Lady Gaga’s concert last night? Where’s a great first date spot? Does this username make me look fat? On Fabulis, one of the main features out of the gate was the ability to ask your friends questions; their answers became part of their profile. Wising up to the desire to pose Qs and scribble down As, Facebook is now jumping into this territory.
Though it doesn’t have to be all bad news for Fabulis: Facebook will open up the product to anyone using its API, which means Fabulis can piggyback on (read: import) the questions you ask and answer on Facebook.
Just remember: Any questions you ask are completely public, so “Do you think I should come out to my parents?” means you just did.