Tumblr announced a one dollar highlighted post feature into the fold of their blogging platform a few weeks ago, but now it seems Facebook is following in their footsteps. The social network is experimenting with $2 highlighted posts that let regular users buy increased visibility in friend’s Facebook newsfeeds with one simple payment.
(Note, this should not be confused with Facebook’s pinned or highlighted posts for brand pages. This feature for brand pages is free, and it allows page admins to anchor posts in the upper left-hand corner of the timeline for a few days. You’ll also see a tiny orange flag that demarcates these pinned posts, but what we’re talking about here is a feature Facebook is testing for regular members of Facebook.)
Under normal circumstances, the only way for people to make sure your posts earn maximum visibility in friends’ newsfeeds is to collect a significant number of likes and comments on a given post. This algorithm helps Facebook surface relevant quality content, but apparently if you’re not interesting or interactive enough, highlighted posts means money will get you visibility too.
It’s an interesting approach, and I can think of more than a few friends who would use this feature to announce important life events. On the other hand, as a light Facebook user from a personal perspective, I can’t imagine purchasing people’s attention like that.
I can appreciate the fact that Facebook is attempting to move past traditional advertising though, and I’m anxious to see if highlighted posts become the norm. If this feature takes hold I assume the era of buying social currency will have arrived and I can only imagine what’s next.
P.S. I am aware that the highlight image in this post is the actual highlight app logo. If you’re unfamiliar with this app, it passively monitors your location via your smartphone’s geolocation. Then it tells you who’s nearby and lets you “highlight” people of interest. The hallucinatory effects of their logo has been polarizing to date, but I find I can’t stop staring at it, hence the inclusion in this post.