Note: This also appeared on Tnooz
Celebrating its triumphant first year, the Facebook Like button has been integrated across more than 2.5 million sites.
While email is still the largest and most personal social network (albeit fragmented and disorganized), the Facebook Send button might just disrupt that space.
There is this uncanny ability Facebook has in getting us to click a button which then becomes ubiquitous across the web. With this week’s unveiling of the Send button, you can now share content with whomever you choose on Facebook and/or through email.
Facebook changed the paradigm for casual connections, because you could vet someone before you ever exchanged your email address or nervously traded phone numbers.
In its early days, your Facebook profile and connections had a degree of intimacy. However, as time has gone on, Facebook connections have become too casual.
Perhaps some people are better than others in limiting their Facebook friends, but the problem is apparent enough that there are startups trying to make more personal social networks.
I believe Facebook may be on the verge of solving this issue themselves, and they are starting it off right with the Send button.
Adoption in travel
I was smiling ear-to-ear when I saw the use-case of the Send button as a travel scenario: an Orbitz user was sending details about a hotel to a couple of his roommates for a possible summer trip.
I’ve tested this feature numerous times now, and it has to be the least friction I’ve ever encountered in sharing hotel information.
So here is what I hope to see from travel sites in adopting the Send button:
- Review sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp integrate it so users and their friends can exchange information while narrowing the field of choices.
- Activity and tour sites like Viator and Trafalgar need the button so friends can discuss what they should do while on their trip.
- Flash sales sites like Jetsetter or LivingSocial Escapes integrate it so that a user can send their deals to the specific friends with whom they wish to go on the trip.
- OTAs and metasearchers like Expedia, Orbitz or Kayak need not only to allow for sharing of particular information, but also the prices that were presented based on the search parameters (obviously, it is ok to have a disclaimer saying the prices can change).
- Airline, hotel, and car companies need this implementation immediately so loyal customers share directly from their sites.
- Travel news and content sites should freely put the button everywhere so that users can share their great content quickly.
As an entrepreneur in the social travel space, it is humbling to see that Facebook validates what we at Bonvoy have already have been doing in the travel space.
They are assisting groups of friends on collaboration around any topic, whereas we have been facilitating travel collaboration and planning for groups of friends within Facebook as an app. Travel is not only a social experience, but an intimate one as well.
We can expect Facebook to continue to iterate, thereby giving users the option to be selective with their social graph. It will be interesting to see how travel sites use the Send button, I can envision friends kicking off trip planning or estimating costs.
I believe the mission of most travel sites is to make travelers’ experiences better. I hope that the Send button can aid in that process, and it enjoys a lot of success.