I've noticed lately that the first thing I check these days is NOT email but my Facebook and Twitter accounts! Most of my family, friends and colleagues are on here and I am bypassing email more and more. Not a surprising trend, I suppose. Is it happening to you too? As you've likely noted, managing all these accounts can be a little unwieldy and the like of Tweetdeck, threadsy, etc have made life easier across these apps.
However I think it's time Facebook (I use them as the proxy for whoever will be the ultimate social network leader although they are getting pretty hard to overtake every day) thought about introducing features that would let me manage my Facebook account easier. Here is what I mean: I think they should introduce a whole set of features designed to manage our social/professional life easier online, thus also reducing the need to start with email. When I log onto FB I should be able to see and manage my social and professional interactions as I wish right from there.
Here are some of the requirements that I would want:
- This "Personal Social Manager" would encompass a set of features that serve as a "social dashboard" of sorts. Currently Microsoft Outlook does this for most email. Needless to say what I am proposing of course is a cloud-based dashboard but one that has the capabilities for becoming my default destination vs. Outlook or Mac Mail or Gmail. Think about what Outlook offers and does and what makes it a default email dashboard for people who manage multiple email accounts. As an aside, Gmail has yet to offer this. I have multiple gmail accounts for various clients actually but cannot manage them from a single online Gmail manager. Sucks!
- When I get on Facebook I should be able to see Newsfeed streams by groupings I've created and selected to view - 'Friends', 'Work' or 'Family' or 'Vendors' (brands, service providers, products I am connected with) or 'All' if I so choose. I should be able to configure friends into multiple groups and how groups show up with a simple drag and drop.
- Privacy controls - powerful but SIMPLE. I'll leave this one without saying more, since this horse has been beaten well enough.
- I should be able to see messages in a more fully-featured Inbox on the side; as you may have noticed Facebook Messages needs to acquire more email features so that email becomes an integrated part of social networking interaction (like chat is becoming), versus being a whole other thing I do outside social networking.
- The one thing I like about email which I miss on Facebook is the ease with which I can find old interactions (messages) when I want them. Being able to search or browse through the folders or "labels" (in the case of Gmail) I've created helps a lot. Facebook needs to provide this so I can easily find old interactions.
- Geolocation - coming soon - along with mapping and "search the web" from inside Facebook.
- Events and evites has done a good job and collaborative planning for events can be extended too.
These are some of my early, top of mind thoughts. I will add to this as I encounter more. How about you? What else would help make Facebook the online social dashboard of choice for you? Look forward to your comments.