Facebook let me know last night that I’d been poked twice since… not sure when since. I didn’t log in, let alone check who the mysterious pokers were.
But it got me thinking, despite my disinterest, how I’d feel if Facebook killed the poke. Not terrible, obviously, but I’d miss it. To draw a tenuous analogy, it’s like those cube-shaped SUVs with the asymmetric back windows… Googling… like the Nissan Cube (duh). I don’t want to drive one, but I’m glad they’re out there, doing their thing, being weird.
Is it possible for a feature to be more aesthetic than practical? In reality, features nobody values don’t and shouldn’t survive. (Although it can take a while sometimes before they get the axe.) But what about a feature that nobody loves (making an assumption here about pokes; could be completely wrong but just go with the hypothetical) and some people ignore?
The poke does nothing very useful, but it also doesn’t detract. Fits well with the broader feature set. It’s also nostalgic, a relic from the very early days of Facebook. And it’s a little funny: Unclear meaning, funny-sounding name, slightly, awkwardly sexual.
Aside: I vaguely remember that legal had us remove the pokes from the sidebar of Mark’s profile when we were doing screens for The Social Network because they didn’t want to make any romantic/sexual insinuations. Could be I’m more nostalgic about this feature than the average FB old-timer.
Anyway, I ramble. The point is I’d be just a little sad if pokes went away. Not because I use or practically value them, but because I just like them.
At Facebook’s scale, even if they’re underutilized, there may still be giga-pokes (ok, mega-pokes) raging through their servers. Certainly not costless to them. But if it’s not too much trouble, here’s one tentative, half-hearted vote to keep them around.
Thoughts? Comment below or tweet at us @goconspire.