I logged into my Facebook this morning to a flood of notifications from friends saying Thank You to me for being a great friend. Honestly, I was a bit perplexed because I couldn’t clearly recall the events of last night. I remember going out with my friends and the lovely restaurant we went to for dinner but no matter how many times I racked my brain to come up with a suitable explanation as to what I could have done or said to my friends last night that could garner such a public display of gratitude from them. I was most surprised to receive a video saying Thank you from a friend who called me a Bucking Fitch last night because I spilled juice all over her new designer abaya. But never mind that.
As it turns out, while I was catching up on my sleep, people all over the world were catching up on missed opportunities to show their gratitude to their friends because Facebook had introduced Say Thanks, an experience that lets people create personalized video cards for their friends on Facebook and say Thanks to them.
How it works
When I found out about this feature, I decided to give it a try and Say Thanks to a few of my own loved ones. I was first asked to choose a friend (just FYI, I didn’t choose the friend who showered me with such kind words last night) and then choose a theme from the 3 provided: Old Friends, Friends and Family as well as old photos and posts shared between my friend and myself over the course of our Facebook Friendship. Other than these, I wasn’t given any other personalization options. After completing the process, Facebook created a 52-second video set to music with a few generic phrases expressing thanks that I was allowed to post on my friend’s wall.
I found the whole process to be very cheesy and impersonal and thought it wasn’t a very interesting way of saying thanks to someone. Personally I prefer heartfelt hand-written thank you notes to these impersonal digital thank yous. The process was a little too simple and boring for my liking- Jimmy Fallon does a better job with his Thank You Notes on The Tonight Show.
However, as it turns out, keeping the process simple was what the creators of this feature were aiming for. “We wanted to make it super simple,” said Cameron Ewing, the design manager on the new feature. “This is a great moment to let people unleash that notion of gratitude.”
Ewing and Kwiatek is the same duo that gave us “A Look Back” video back in February where people were able to create a video memoir of their presence on Facebook by putting together important photos, life events and status updates that users had posted on their profiles in the past. “A Look Back” was launched in honor of the 10th Anniversary of Facebook and turned out to be a major success where during the entire month 354 million users watched a video created with the feature, and around 157 million users posted their own videos (Tech Time, 2014)
Honoring special relationships
By introducing “Say Thanks” just in time for Thanksgiving, the video creators hope to achieve similar success. “Our hope is that people will love it, that it will make them feel good and they will want to share this with their friends,” said Kwiatek. According to Ewing, the “Say Thanks” feature will create more intimate videos that will honor special relationships.
Even though I don’t personally like the feature I do appreciate the thought and sentiments behind it. I won’t be creating any more Thank You videos using this feature but I would surely give each of my loved ones a call or a visit and let them know that I appreciate them and I am thankful to them for being in my life. Thank You Facebook for putting that thought in my head.