Facebook Launches 'Send' Button

Around a year after introducing the 'Like' button, today Facebook is rolling out a new feature called the 'Send' button.

The Send Button is a social tool that will allow users to share an item of news, content or anything else of interest with a specific person or group of people via Facebook messages or simply via email.

Essentially, up until now if you wanted to show people something you are have enjoyed watching or reading online, you need to jump through a few hoops or at least be prepared for a 'Like' to show up in your friend feed for everyone to see. With the new 'Send' button, you can be much more specific with your interactions (see picture below for an example).

Murraygalbraith

Facebook is going live with this functionality across 50 sites today, no doubt with thousands more to come shortly.
But what will this mean for the social experience?

FOR YOU AND ME
With fewer steps to complete a form / email out a piece of content, the Facebook integration will soon become a seamless addition to daily web surfing. Much like anything else associated with the Facebook API, the 'Send' button will soon become synonymous with staying in touch, sending and receiving small tidbits of highly targeted and in a strange way 'personalised' content. 

FOR BRANDS
As users are becoming more and more used to seeing the familiar Facebook blue buttons across the internet, I believe they will come to expect this kind of functionality as a bare minimum of brand interactivity.
If you are building a website of any size or description without in some way planning for users to be able to share your content, stop development immediately. Unless you are designing for the social web, you are designing for a superfluous yesterday, which means no matter how much time you spend developing great content, nobody will see it.

The real value of this new feature for brands is in the targeted interaction. If you thought it was cool showing up in a friend feed to POTENTIALLY be seen by 300 people after someone clicked 'Like' on one of your articles, imagine the conversions if users are able to send specific pieces of content to specific people they think may be interested. Let's put it this way, if your marketing team has been considering the benefits of assembling a team of 'brand advocates' but wasn't sure how to go about it - call me right now and I'll show you how. Because if ever there was a time to make sure your best stuff gets trumpeted by the best people, it's right now, with this new functionality.

Most importanty, what does this mean for the big blue behemoth? 

FOR FACEBOOK
This is another huge step towards our Facebook profiles becoming the 'Drivers License' of the internet. Facebook has just hit 51% population usage across countries like America and Australia, and is rapidly becoming the largest closed network on the planet. The more they are able to direct traffic, be it content or consumer interaction with external websites, the more comfortable users will become, allowing Zuckerberg and Co. to streamline the entire web surfing experience. And the more eyeballs are directed at Facebook messages / friend feed, the more ad revenue is generated to get at those eyeballs.

As always, I welcome your comments and ideas on how you think this new feature may help (or hinder) the social web.