Market Overview

Facebook Announcements Were All Hype, Little Substance


Was it the boring presentation or the lack of excitement that turned people off the most?

In typical Mark Zuckerberg fashion, F8's live stream began in the most hilariously bad way possible: with a view of people walking, sitting, and reading while lousy music played in the background.

After jumping back and forth between people walking and interviews with first-time attendees, Mark Zuckerberg finally came on stage wearing the best Andy Samberg costume he could find. It was awesome!

Alright, I'm being sarcastic – it was the real Andy Samberg, who managed to get a laugh out of me but earned very few chuckles from the audience. My colleagues weren't amused either. “He's trying too hard to be funny,” one remarked.

While far from perfect, this keynote intro was vastly superior to the last one. Unfortunately, that's about as far as the improvements go.

My Whole Life Story

I don't want to put my life story online. I don't want to share pictures from when I turned two – those are for my family. I don't want to regurgitate each and every trivial detail of my existence in a social network that, thanks to the Subscribe feature, is now more public than ever. Likewise, I don't have the desire to go through and carefully select who can or can't see Picture X, Story Y, or Event Z.

These, of course, are the things a large number of existing Facebook users love. For them, the new Timeline feature isn't a revolution – but it will be viewed as a nice step forward from the current format.

If Facebook had made these announcements on any other Thursday, there'd be no complaints. But the F8 conference was hyped as being the most exciting event of the year. It wasn't. I watched from home and wanted to cry, so I cannot imagine how awful it must have been for those viewing the snooze-fest in person.

More of the Same

Do you subscribe to Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) or Hulu Plus? Would you like another app?

Wait, you mean to tell me that you already have several apps? You say you can already watch Hulu and Netflix on your computer. Wow, that's interesting. So why do we need a Facebook app for that?

Yeah Facebook, why?

No one asked that question at F8. Instead, they simply focused on the future of social networking and how Netflix was working hard to usher in a new era of social television, blah, blah, blah.

Let me be clear on one thing: I watch my favorite shows only one way – with my eyes glued to the screen. I do not tweet. I do not chat. I do not status update or perform any other menial task. It's TV, for crying out loud! If the show isn't entertaining enough to distract me from life's distractions, it isn't worth watching.

Reruns are different. I like to play video games, particularly turn-based strategy games, while watching reruns of David E. Kelley legal dramas. I'm not sure why – I used to play games and watch Boston Legal separately. But after spending one summer playing Fire Emblem while watching old episodes of The Practice, I haven't been able to stop. Now I look for any good turn-based strategy game – Disgaea, Advance Wars, etc. – to go with whatever Kelley rerun I feel like watching.

Unfortunately for Facebook, neither scenario has room for social networking. While I may be compelled to post a status update about a particularly good episode of Chuck after it airs, I will not stop watching it to write about it online. That's silly. I'm not 12 years old anymore. Frankly, I wouldn't have done that when I was 12!

Listen In

With a load of music apps coming to Facebook (including Spotify, iHeartRadio, earbits, Deezer, Rhapsody, Turntable, etc.), listeners will soon be able to share their music with their friends while they're playing it.

This is great for all those people who have hours upon hours of free time to sit around and listen to their friends' music.

To be clear, I fell in love with Turntable. I thought it was the greatest music service ever created. But it's an enormous distraction; you can't really do something important while trying to use Turntable.

I don't know for sure, but I suspect the same will be true for Facebook's sharing music functionality, as users will have to constantly mute, un-mute, turn up, or turn down songs that they like or despise. Next, they'll be compelled to communicate with the friend playing that song, and so on. It's a nice idea, and something I would have loved as a teen with a fair amount of free time, especially during summer break. But for everyone else, it's just another music sharing feature.

Follow me @LouisBedigian

Posted-In: Advance Wars Andy Samberg Boston Legal David E. Kelley Deezer Disgaea earbitsTech Best of Benzinga


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