Facebook launched a product for parents and families this week called Scrapbook. It’s a way to share baby and children’s photos in one place. It’s a cute product and has many benefits for parents. One is that a child can be tagged without actually creating a public profile, offering parents a happy compromise between sharing and privacy. It also allows families to jointly manage a scrapbook and tag the child together. All in all, Scrapbook seems like a great product built for a specific audience with a specific need.
This isn’t a negative, but it does add to the growing evidence that Facebook the Social Network is focusing its efforts on a more mature audience. Facebook as a company, as a set of products, on the other hand, is busy creating different products for different demographics and usage patterns and doesn’t seem worried about what group is using what product as long as every group has a product.
For example, comparing Facebook the Network with Facebook Messenger. Two different products, both focused on sharing content with people on an identical social graph, but in completely different ways. Facebook the Network focuses on history, building a legacy, showcasing every year since birth and keeping everything for eternity. Messenger is about what is happening now, shared only with a select, much smaller, group of people, and will be irrelevant tomorrow. Instagram, another Facebook product, is focused on sharing but with a different social graph and only for images. It has a younger audience that, the theory goes, left Facebook the Network once their parents and grandparents joined. WhatsApp has a very broad appeal internationally, another demographic that Facebook the company can say it serves.
It’s an interesting and very robust product approach, one not taken by any other big technology company. Google, for example, has a one size fits all model, and creates every product to appeal to a wide audience. Perhaps that’s why they have been less successful in social applications beyond personal ones such as email and chat. Facebook’s multi-faceted appeal is unique. It will be interesting to see how they build products for every group of user types after, as they say “connect the whole world.”