Soon, Facebook will have a new feature. The Facebook Gift Store will allow users to spend real world money to send an “in real life” gift to an online friend that they have connected with on Facebook. Does anyone else find this as bizarre as I do?
I understand that the primary purpose of the Facebook Gift Store is to generate revenue for Facebook. I’ve heard this described as a somewhat unique way for Facebook to make some money without having to rely entirely on ads.
The financial aspects make a certain amount of sense to me. Facebook is hoping that thousands of its users will want to spend money at the Facebook Gift Store in order to send their Facebook friends a teddy bear, some cupcakes, socks, a Facebook gift card, or all manner of other products. There is a video about the Facebook Gift Store that shows just how easy it is to send your Facebook friend a gift. The option to do it will appear with the birthday reminders, and in a bunch of other places on Facebook.
It is the social aspects of the Facebook Store that perplex me. While there are some people who only “Friend” their relatives, this isn’t what typically happens. How many of you have “friended” someone who you vaguely know because you work at the same place? Have you ever “friended” a podcaster, author, or musician because you like his or her work? Imagine how awkward it would be to learn that some random person, who is basically a stranger, has decided to send a gift to your home or office!
Let’s say one of your co-workers, whom you barely know, (but who is your Facebook Friend), decides to send a box of cupcakes to your home for your birthday. Should you bring the box to the employee lounge, to share with everyone? Are you now obligated to send that person a box of cupcakes on his or her next birthday? How does one explain to their significant other why a person, whom you never once mentioned, has sent you a gift? I think the Facebook Gift Store is going to bring a whole lot of drama.
Image: Stock Photo Cupcakes by BigStock