Facebook Works For People, Not Users
Facebook has gone all softhearted and modified its way of talking about its userbase and advertising customers as a step to considering them as “humans.”
And how will it do that? By calling its users “people” instead of “users.”
Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook’s director of product design, spoke out about how Facebook has taken this resolution seriously, by even redesigning its internal dashboards, which used to say “daily average users,” but now say “daily average people.”
Gould Stewart then later explained the reason for this:
As somebody once said: It’s kind of arrogant to think the only reason people exist is to use what you built. They actually have lives, like, outside the experience they have using your product, and so the first step of designing in a human-centered way is to recognize that they’re humans.
The “somebody” referred here might be Twitter co-founder and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who asked the tech industry back in 2012 to eradicate the word “user” out of its vocabulary. In his blog post, he emphasized on his point by specifying that one of the dictionary definitions for the word user is “a person who takes illegal drugs.”
So Facebook has even established an “empathy team” which will help engineers and designers to understand what it is actually like to be a user, or a business which is paying for advertising. The team actually visits partners like small businesses or large advertisers to help them run their ad campaigns and find out more about their companies and goals.
The purpose of the team was explained by Stewart:
If you succeed or fail at a particular goal, you may not feel the pain or success that a real person using that product to run their business will feel. So we find when we pair individuals and build a relationship with a small business and the campaign they made fails, they [— Facebook staff —] feel that.
Later on Gould Stewart then discussed her ambitions for better advertising, which she believes is as a “hugely wasteful industry.”
I think most of our notions of advertising carry with them the assumption that advertising is interruptive and irrelevant and I don’t think that, as a culture, we can conceive a notion or a future…where we show significantly fewer ads and they’re significantly more valuable and relevant to you.
Subtly, this points to Facebook’s trade marketing push at the moment — “people-based marketing” — which uses its targeting abilities to allow advertisers to direct messages to specific audiences.
Source: The Atlantic