Facebook Mentions, an iOS app that was previously restricted to the super-famous, is now available to all verified users — like me.
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Facebook Mentions is oriented around interacting with page followers, rather than friends. There’s a Newsfeed view that shows updates from pages and other verified people you follow, but the meat of the app is in how it handles talking with people that aren’t your friends.
First, when you sign in for the first time, Facebook Mentions guides you toward following other famous people and brands so your timeline isn’t empty. I already followed a bunch, like The Verge, WIRED and Om Malik, so it recommended similar pages.
The mentions tab aggregates mentions of you on Facebook, including articles about you and articles you’ve written. It’s actually super useful for me, because I can see other people who’ve shared my writing here for the first time, without needing to search for it.
You can see my Q&A here, if you want to see what it looks like — feel free to ask a question!
Notifications does what you’d expect, but it also includes friends if you’re using it as a verified profile, which I’m guessing most famous people aren’t doing — they usually maintain a separate profile for their smaller friend groups.
The post button in the middle offers a number of interesting options. There’s status, photo and video like normal, but a live video and Q&A format.
Q&A does exactly what it says on the box. You can ask fans to send in questions and Facebook sorts them into a nice reply and answer format, with a special sorting option to wade through the top questions later on.
Live video is the most interesting part of the app and probably most sought after. You can jump on a live stream with everyone that follows you within a few seconds and your fans (also all my friends in this case) are notified that you’re broadcasting.
Live video on Facebook is pretty fun and similar to Periscope, without the charming hearts. It’s only shown as a square, not portrait video — which makes it feel way too zoomed in — and your “fans” can interact and comment, which is shown at the bottom of the screen.
At the end, you get a summary of how the stream performed and the comments remain on as comments on the video post itself.
It’s a pretty cool feature that I’m not seeing any celebrity using yet. Live video actually auto-plays in the newsfeed, so people are even more inclined to watch it than with services like Periscope, so if you were truly famous it would be a cool way to talk with fans.
Perhaps the oddest thing about Facebook Mentions is that it’s not optimized for iPhone 6 — so it’s all stretched on newer iPhones — though it appeals to a fairly niche audience so it probably doesn’t matter.
Facebook Mentions is an app for famous people who need to manage an influx of fans, so the most people will probably never get to use it. Still, it’s fun to take a peek at how the other half lives.