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Social faux pas

Facebook testing new features, muscling in on Pinterest: Inside the Want game

As if the social media sphere's narcissism meter hadn't reached its highest plane with Facebook's recent addition of the "promote" feature on personal status updates — because everyone should be paying cash to feel self-important in the interwebs — the minions of this network have found another way to monetize its 800 million members. 

Taking a cue from Pinterest's not so successful stint at turning visual boards into sales (Zappos Labs released a research study citing that 13 percent of Pinterest users made a purchase because of the website), Facebook is testing a function that enables a select few brands to post product photos with "Want," "Collect" and "Like" buttons.

Users can then create wish lists called "Collections," which will show up in news feeds and personal timelines. Sales would occur on the brand's platform rather than Facebook, which it claims isn't taking a cut from each unit sold. Retailers like Victoria's Secret, Pottery Barn, Michael Kors, Wayfair, Neiman Marcus, and Smith Optics are the guinea pigs, with only a few Facebook users having access to this new function currently. Eventually, the function will be open to all retailers and users.

Surely the drop in Facebook stock to below $20 a share has Mark Zuckerberg thinking about ways to increase revenue. The sinking ship that is Zynga — the creators of FarmVille, Words With Friends and Fashion Designer — at one point accounted for 12 percent of its revenue. But this new strategy could backfire.

Thank you for allowing me to see what the other people in my life may want to acquire so I can avoid awkward social faux pas.

And here's why.

So the word on the streets says that everyone else wants what everyone else has. I say, "Go fish."

What we really want is to be the first and only owner of a particular item. A trendsetter, not a trend follower. The person who thinks something up, not the person who copies someone else.

There's nothing more depressing than showing up at someone's house and coming face to face with the same coffee table you just ordered, or making an entrance at work with your new Louis Vuitton satchel only to find your colleague toting the larger, more expensive version or, god forbid, exiting your Bentley en route to a black tie affair donning a delicious pair of Jimmy Choos only to discover that they look much better on your skinnier tablemate, whose better half happens to look like a someone out of a firefighter calendar.

So thank you Facebook. Thank you for allowing me to see what the other people in my life may want to acquire so I can avoid awkward social faux pas. 

Instead, I will be using my private collection on and troll public boards. Though chances are anything material that has any meaning whatsoever will never show up on Facebook.

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