Yes, it's true, last night I was Poked by someone very near and dear to me, but I will refrain from saying who it is in order to protect the Poker's identity. I had no idea people still Poked one another on Facebook and I didn't know this feature still existed. I guess you learn something new every day!
After doing some quick digging, I discovered that it's as easy to Poke someone as it is to send a message or to start up a chat, which is how I'm assuming I got Poked in the first place. Unless there's something I don't know about my Poker, I'm going to assume that this person did not think about the decision to Poke me but rather accidentally hit Poke when they intended to send me a message. You can see what I mean in the screen grab below.
This got me thinking. The Poke was truly something innovative that other social networking sites like Friendster and MySpace were not offering to their users. The Poke really serves as a way to chat with your friends without saying a word. If you Poke someone, you're essentially saying, "Hey, how's it going?" or "What up!" or "Hey, you wanna get together sometime?" The Poke appears to be the first iteration of Facebook Chat.
So what is the Poke exactly?
Here's the definition from Facebook's Help Center:
The poke feature can be used for a variety of things on Facebook. For instance, you can poke your friends to say hello. When you poke someone, they will receive a poke alert on their home page.
According to Facebook's Wikipedia page that is sadly not cited, a previous FAQ sheet for Facebook stated:
"When we created the poke, we thought it would be cool to have a feature without any specific purpose. People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings."
So if Facebook created the Poke to be innovative but knew that it would serve no purpose, why would Facebook position the Poke so prominently on profile pages? Do they want users to Poke more? Is there some internal incentive for employees if more Pokes occur in any given quarter? Is there some Poking benchmark that general users are not privy to? The questions on the matter are endless.
Oh wait, here we go! It's probably because a majority of Facebook users secretly love the Poke. Seriously, take a look at this online Facebook poll for The Poke: 65.8% of users want Facebook to keep the Poke feature.
I guess the Poke isn't going anywhere and its real purpose is to keep a majority of Facebook users happy.
So tell me, are you a Poker or a victim of Poking? What do you think of the Poke? Is it cool and innovative or a just a waste of space?
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