Revamped Facebook Questions Asks Friends and Takes Polls

By March 25, 2011
Facebook Questions Rehaul

Facebook streamlined this feature and aims to make answers more relevant for users by tweaking Questions to one or two degrees of separation.

Facebook Questions has been updated to reflect how members use the feature. Instead of providing empirical data, it is often used as a means to crowdsource opinions or advice, as this author has done when suggesting tea mugs or cartoons.  To make the most of its user-generated product differentiation, as compared with Yahoo Answers, etc. Questions will now have more interface choices and poll-creation tools. The entries spread through networks, too - once a friend responds to a question, their friends can view and respond also, making the tool more effective if numbers help.

The new version of Facebook Questions is currently being rolled out, and does away with the old system that aggregated answers and prompted users to vote for the best answer, as ReadWriteWeb points out. The new emphasis is on relevancy - people ask their friends because they trust them, and expect that their own social circle will answer in a more useful way. As Adrian Graham explains on the Facebook Blog, "For most of these questions, experts weren't going to be the best source for advice. The answers to these questions are meaningful or interesting because you know your friends and your friends know you."

When the product launched last summer, TechCrunch evaluated Facebook Questions's potential as "massive," and Jason Kincaid mentions what they have taken away - questions do not become answerable by the general social network population, for example. But answers from friends of friends will be easily discernible - friends appear with an icon and highlight.

Facebook Questions does not seem to be an end to itself - users might not spend much time browsing through various subjects for pleasure. Instead, it could be easily used to populate a rating system specific to one's social graph - combined with Places, it readily would be a more relevant Yelp because the reviews are from trusted sources. Facebook Answers, maybe?

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