A couple weeks ago we wrote about Facebook’s improved profile suggestions however at the time we didn’t notice one thing: Facebook’s recommendation to poke each other. Many people still debate what the purpose of poking is however Facebook appears to be using it as a tool to get users to be more active. What was strange about the recommendations we’ve been sent was that the user who saw them didn’t know the person they were advised to poke.
For some users poking is more of a way to flirt, and for others, poking is a way to say “Hello!” The biggest problem with poking is that it’s the person who receives the poke who ends up interpreting what the meaning is. In April of last year I suggested that poking could potentially spark World War III. So far we’ve yet to see a world war erupt from Facebook poking, but that doesn’t mean the risk has been eliminated!
While we are not sure whether or not Facebook is recommending international users to poke each other, it’s clear that this is being used as a way to encourage updates. At least that’s my interpretation! Ultimately the greatest weakness of poking may also be it’s greatest strength: there’s no way to know what a poke actually was intended for. It’s not like an attachment comes with the poke to say “This poke is because I LOVE YOU!”
For now we’ll have to continue interpreting the poke in our own way, and Facebook will simply suggest that you poke people you know (or don’t know)! Have you been recommended to poke other people or is this a rare case? Thanks to Leora Israel for the tip.