If you get to use Mentions — which would mean that you are a “verified public figure,” someone with one of those blue check marks next to your name, with a “public page,” one of those pages that people can read but not comment on — you’ll probably notice a couple things:
The emphasis is on posting new messages, photos and videos, instead of reading what your pals have put up.
There is a Mentions tab that’s supposed to make it easy for stars to see what people are saying about them. It looks strikingly like the “@” tab that Twitter has always had — and also uses the term “mentions.” It is another in a series of moves that are … inspired by Twitter’s playbook.
There are other companies and services designed to help famous people manage their presence on Facebook and other social networks. But Facebook says this app is created for famous people themselves, as opposed to their minders and helpers.
The new app won’t be that exclusive: Facebook execs say “tens of thousands” of its users will be able to use it at launch, and they say that number will grow as Facebook rolls it out internationally, and eventually to “public figures” who only have a conventional Facebook profile. That last group includes d-listers like me.*
The main question I’ve got about Mentions is why Facebook isn’t letting its other billion-plus users opt into the app — or, alternately, why it hasn’t imported some of the creation-friendly design features to its hoi polloi app.
Facebook has a stock non-answer about the fact that everyone uses Facebook differently, and that they think this is best for famous people. But I think the real answer may be one or both of these:
Lots of people are already posting lots of stuff on Facebook — up until recently, it was the world’s biggest photo-sharing service. But Facebook likes the fact that most of its users are consuming content instead of creating it. Facebook’s advertisers like that, too.
Stars are just like us — they like being told they’re getting special stuff. And if that encourages them to share stuff with the rest of us, Facebook is happy to oblige.
* Don’t worry! I know I’m standing on the shoulders of giants, and I won’t forget the little people who helped me make it all possible. Also: I’m never gonna be my hero.