Why Facebook Keeps Carving Itself Up

Facebook Camera Has Branding Issues
Facebook Camera has branding issues

The successful release of the Facebook Camera app two weeks ago marked the second major application launch by the social network focused on a singular feature. Joining Messenger, Camera allows users to enjoy functionality without the baggage of Facebook’s leviathan social networks as experienced through the iPhone, iPad, Android and mobile web versions.

For the past few years, Facebook dominated the social network marketplace by absorbing every feature from all of its competitor. In doing so, it became the McDonalds of social networks. However, with mobile revolution, tactile input changes the way we interact online, and Facebook’s girth makes it unwieldy for tablets and smartphones in spite of experience-controlled applications.

At every corner now, there seems to be a niche mobile competitor.

Path offers a viable counterpart to Facebook Groups. Since even private Facebook Group comments inexplicably end up in the public Facebook stream, Path represents a safer alternative. On the photo front, Facebook swallowed Instagram. Tada remains. On the video side, YouTube still reigns with a functional series of applications.

In essence, Facebook needs to carve itself up into smaller sub social network applications to avoid getting beat by these niche competitors. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see a Groups application launch next.

We can expect more of these singular apps from Facebook.

Facebook Camera was a smart early niche play. Almost 20% of Facebook’s traffic revolves around photos.

Thoughts on the Camera Application

Camera did allow me to do one thing: Delete the main Facebook mobile app from my iPhone, just as I did on my iPad. I used the app primarily to upload photos, and monitor posts. I can use the standard HTML 5 mobile version of Facebook to make sure I’m not getting bludgeoned online, and then comment when I return to a traditional computer.

Unfortunately, like many of Facebook’s traditional web applications, Camera lacks in the functionality that competitive, holistic visual networks Instagram and Pinterest offer. For starters, those networks allow you to do more socially beyond Facebook.

In a few instances, I uploaded the same photo twice in Camera because the application didn’t recognize its own history. It also failed to recognize new photos. And of course, the application name “Camera” is about original as naming a pasta product Mac and Cheese.

As an amateur photographer, let me offer you one tip: Ignore the lack of functionality. Use Camera to load your mobile photos directly to Facebook. Even Facebook owned Instagram lacks the Timeline pop that a directly uploaded photo does. Post independently on each network to maximize visibility.

Each network has different functionality anyway, so you should avoid cross-posting except in rare cases. As with traditional status updates, crossing the streams rarely pays off with mobile photograph apps like Instagram, Tadaa, Path, Flickr and Pinterest on Facebook.

What do you think of Camera?

Related: Social Photography Thoughts and 4 Tips, The Death of Facebook, Questions About the Visual Media Era