These days, your news feed is getting a bit stale. Same people, same old arguments about the election, complaints about work on Mondays, and celebrations from last night’s big game.
Facebook knows this, so it has been experimenting with social expansion by kicking it back to the days of AIM chat rooms. Cue the nostalgia, as the company is rolling out a new feature called “Rooms” as part of Facebook Messenger — the addition is meant to encourage public conversations about topics and interests.
While this probably just means that digital mobs of people wielding pitchforks will expand outward into the public sphere, Facebook is only rolling the feature out in select markets. It had previously experimented with the feature using a standalone app called Rooms, but that failed to catch on. This Messenger addition utilizes learnings from the earlier experiment, TechCrunch reported.
Every “Room” can focus on specific topics and can include both people friends and strangers, offering a separation from group chats, which usually include family and friends exclusively.
The feature is launching first in Australia and Canada to serve as a test market before the U.S. and international users get to use Rooms. Users will be able to set their Rooms as private and accept new additions after administrator approval.
The use-cases for the feature are far-reaching, as TechCrunch pointed out.
“This could work well as an add-on for things like larger Facebook groups, where not all the members are also Facebook friends. (Or have even met in real life) … But it could also help connect people around subjects they want to discuss via messaging, instead of the more formal structure of a Facebook group.”
The Rooms feature could also come in handy for organizing events or sending out alerts, which certainly would have served political protesters well this past week in organizing post-election rallies across the country.