Facebook is always tweaking, expanding, contracting, and purchasing apps to innovate its network and stay competitive in the dynamic field of social media.
Its newest app, from Facebook Creative Labs, is called Rooms.
News about Rooms was first leaked one year ago on TechCrunch. But it wasn’t October 23, 2014 that Facebook broke the news about the app in its newsroom.
You Can Say Almost Anything in Facebook Rooms
Rooms is an iPhone app for Facebook that creates spaces where like-minded people can chat about topics they mutually care about.
Everyone is saying that they are a throwback to the chat rooms of yesteryear. Like a chat room, you don’t have to use your real name – a feature the app’s developers believe will give you greater freedom to express your ideas.
But will you have more freedom to say whatever you’d like? Sure, unless you violate Facebook’s parameters. Facebook will police these Rooms and retain the authority to remove what it deems to be hate speech, threats, spam, graphic content, or other forms of objectionable content.
Moderation on Facebook isn’t new. The social media giant has a team of individuals who review all content that its 1.3 billion users post.
Facebook doesn’t like to talk about its moderation workers. Some estimate the number of employees at a minimum of 150,000 people working around the clock in the United States, India, the Philippines and perhaps elsewhere.
Moderation isn’t specific to Facebook. Other networks employ moderators as well. For example, Pinterest prohibits nudity. Google+ uses a combination of user reports and automated scanning designed to detect content that violates text and image policies.
You may recall the Coppertone-like baby picture a North Carolina mother posted on her Facebook profile. Facebook removed the image and banned the mother from Facebook.
However, when Middle America protested Facebook lifted its ban. The image reappeared on the mother’s Timeline but this time with an emoticon covering her daughter’s partially bare bottom.
Facebook made headlines when it banned a New Yorker image several years ago too.
A Place for Creative Self-Expression
The product manager for Facebook Rooms says the new app is designed to provide an online venue for creative self-expression. Because you’re anonymous, you can say whatever you’d like without an employer or graduate school admissions administrator finding out.
Once you install the app, you can customize a range of options including emoticons, cover images, text, colors, member permissions and even the Like button. You can also create your username.
So what is a room? It’s a feed of photos, videos and text similar to your news feed on Facebook or Instagram. However, the feed is narrowed by a topic the creator of the room selects.
Room creators control the room, from who gets to enter the room to whether you can post links to your website content.
Once you download the Rooms app, Recommended Rooms will appear on your home screen. Users can share Rooms invites as they would images.
According to the Rooms instructions, there are two ways to enter the room once you receive an invitation:
- Take a screenshot of the room invite on your phone and open the Rooms app. The room will be automatically added to your home screen.
- Open the Rooms app and tap Use Invite at the bottom-right corner of the home screen. Take a photo of an invite or chose one from your Camera Roll.
How Writers Can Use Facebook Rooms
There is a variety of ways that authors can use Facebook Rooms.
- Create a room for your loyal readers. You can use the room to discuss your books, as well as books in the same genre.
- Memoir writers working on sensitive material such as incest or rape can invite a select number of people to discuss how they can share their histories in their writing and still feel safe.
- Use a room to start a writer’s critique group.
- Start a room to beta test content for your upcoming book.
- Initiate a room to share ideas about DIY book covers.
- Use the room to share great writing prompts.
- Organize a room to support your colleagues in their publishing and marketing endeavors.
You will find freedom in the Rooms because the content your produce won’t be searchable on the Web. However, if you use a name to protect your identity, you won’t be in a position to gain authority as an expert in your field like you would in a Google+ Hangout or LinkedIn and Facebook Groups.
How do you think you’ll use Facebook’s Rooms?
Frances Caballo is a Contributing Writer for The Book Designer. She is also an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. Click here to receive a free copy of her book Twitter Just for Writers.
You can learn more about Frances and how to connect with her here.
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