What’s Facebook doing to differentiate themselves from the scores of other anonymous apps? Rooms is inspired by chatrooms. It’s a nod to the early days of the internet when talking to people usually involved an AOL chatroom.
Each ‘room’ is a feed of photos, videos and text with the focus on a single topic chosen by the person who created it.
Rooms isn’t completely anonymous. You create nicknames to use in specific rooms. What you choose is up to you and there are no ties to your Facebook account. In fact, if you didn’t know it was made by Facebook, you wouldn’t know Rooms was part of their ecosystem.
Letting people use pseudonyms is a departure for the social media giant. They have been rather insistent about people using their real names on Facebook.
With Rooms, Facebook is targeting real-time conversations – an area Twitter dominates. Social media companies are figuring out new ways to advertise to these users. Expanding your reach, and more importantly, the type of reach will be a big draw for advertisers.
Rooms takes these real-time conversations and makes them as public or private as you want. Want just your close-knit group of friends to discuss the latest episode of Walking Dead? Make the group and control who can participate. You can control everything from the colors to the cover photo.
You can check out some of the Rooms people have created here. Popular ones right now include Street Style, Slopestyle and Pug Lovers. I’m sure Rooms will be inundated with cat and dog ‘rooms’ by the end of the day.
Facebook’s biggest challenge will be convincing users their app is worth downloading and is good. A tough one with the amount of ‘anonymous’ apps pouring into app stores these days.
Rooms is available to download right now from Apple’s App Store (search by Facebook apps to find it. I’m getting an error right now when I try to download it). Android and desktop versions are said to be in the works.