As per my usual routine, I grabbed my tablet in bed before I had really woken up and checked Facebook. I was not surprised to see almost every post dealt with Thanksgiving. However, one of them mentioned “Instead of posting what I’m thankful for…” I thought that perhaps the poster was being snarky in relation to all of the other posts. But, then I discovered another one of my friends posting the exact same words.
I hadn’t thought about that coincidence when I used Chrome to get to the full Facebook website in order to look at tagged photos of someone I had met the previous night. I then noticed the below question: “What are you thankful for?”
Facebook had changed the status box to ask “What are you thankful for?” It turns out my friends were in fact commenting on this special Thanksgiving question. I switched over to the Android mobile app to update my status because I have had bad experiences using the full website on my tablet for text input. It then noticed that the special Thanksgiving day question didn’t appear. Perhaps changing the question within the app would have required an entire update, and so it isn’t worth it to change just for that question.
My interest had been piqued however so I switched to my phone. I knew it was the same Android app so that wasn’t worthwhile to check, but I do in fact use the mobile website on my phone often since the app can be unbearably slow. Unfortunately I was not greeted with the same question and instead I saw the usual “What’s on your mind?”
I know that Facebook could have easily updated their mobile website to the special Thanksgiving question. It didn’t. This shows that mobile is still an afterthought at the company. Ideally it should even be able to update the app question without pushing out an entirely new update if it is in fact a technological limitation. I suspect not. Other content is updated within the app, what would make the status box question unable to be updated on the back end? Nothing. I don’t think it is a technical problem and more of a problem of priorities. They are not a mobile first company.
Yes, this is a diminutive detail but it is indicative of their mobile strategy that does not bode well for the company. Whichever team on Facebook decided to update the status update question for Thanksgiving did not work with the mobile team, or the mobile team was not able to deliver a technical solution. Neither speaks well of the company. Google managed to update their Thanksgiving doodle on their mobile website, Facebook needs to step up its game in order to compete.