Minnesota, USA March 25, 2011- If you are like many Facebook users, questions show up in your statuses frequently. Let's face it, we do not only want to update people on what is happening in our lives but we also want others' insight. Recently Facebook launched its 'Questions' feature, which allows users to post any question with poll responses that may have more answers added with the permission of the user! Right now it may not seem like a huge deal; however, you have not thought deeply of this feature's potential.
First for the users that have not started using this, it is important to know that to add this feature you must 'opt in'. To do this, visit: www.facebook.com/questions. It is as easy to use this feature as it is to start with just a click of a button. It reminds me of the popular 'Ask Jeeves' days where I would input a question and browse through the results. This time, I will not have any irrelevant findings because it will be my friends'-plus friends of friends- responses that I trust. Even though the responses are not instant, the quality makes up for the time.
This tool is a dream for people who have a lot of questions like me. I consider myself the 'forever student' who constantly wants to expand my knowledge of everything. You do not need to be a student to appreciate it though. Indeed it makes information gathering much easier than it was in the past. I recall using the 'Notes' feature previously to conduct a research project. If I had the convenience of having polls in this situation, it would have been easier. However, it would not help in the situations where more than one answer is needed; for instance, ordering specific data according to importance. Obviously this is a drawback that could be considered in the future to enhance this feature.
Undoubtedly people put more weight on the opinions of those close to them than those who do not know them. Imagine, you are shopping for a special occasion and you are unsure if this outfit is the one to buy; since most phones feature a camera, you can easily upload your photo to Facebook and ask the question, "How does this dress look on me Is it appropriate for a first date" The feedback from friends is valued more than the opinions of the store associates. Basically, this could benefit the users and businesses since people are able to determine if they want the item or not; there may be less product returns.
Businesses that also have Facebook pages may use this feature as a marketing tool. It is a quick and easy way to get answers directly from their consumers. It is likely that the data will be more accurate since the people, who are answering the questions are part of the consumer base, want to answer the questions; this leads to less 'random' or forced responses from people who genuinely do not care about the question being asked.
Aside from these more professional situations, it is also a great way to learn more about everyone you know; learning is not only for the classroom. Get into the adventure of discovering things about people that you did not realize were a part of their lives. You can turn it into a game!
Whether you use the 'Questions' feature for information gathering or entertainment, it is the perfect addition to our 'Facebook lives'.