Paid Facebook messages to celebrities – the new fan mail?


Taylor Swift

How desperate are you for your favorite celebrity to read your letter? The Guardian reports the introduction of a new initiative by Facebook that allows users to send a celebrity a message, but at a price.

How do they calculate the fee? In this test run in the UK, a Facebook message to a celebrity can run anywhere from 71p to £11, depending on an algorithm that determines the celebrity’s online presence and fan base.

Facebook’s new initiative is only in a test phase, running for a small percentage of users. Previous tests in the US included a $1 to contact non-friends and $100 to send a message to the company’s founder, Mark Zuckerburg.

This trial run for paid Facebook messages to celebrities may be an option for those fans out there, worried that their letter will end up likes Taylor Swift’s fan mail – unopened, at the bottom of a dumpster. Usually, messages from non-friends on Facebook are directed to the mysterious “Other” box, essentially a “digital dumpster” that many users, including myself, didn’t even know existed.

Facebook’s new plan may have some benefits, aside from their own profit from “turning celebrity inboxes into moneymakers” – the sender feels a sense of assurance that the message will be delivered and the receivers will be less likely to receive spam. Or, at least, that’s what they’ll try to convince their users.

The great thing about social media is that it has allowed ordinary people to feel connected to the elite or famous more intimately than ever before. But why spend money when there are other options in which people can engage with their favorite stars, such as Twitter? I guess that sometimes what people want to say to their celebrity idol can’t fit into 140 characters.

Perhaps a better approach to this venture would involve some sense of good will, such as the proceeds going to the celebrity’s favorite charity or the price being set by reviews of user experiences. Otherwise, Facebook’s new venture may seem only to further exploit our culture’s fascination with celebrities.

If this feature is adopted platform-wide, it will be interesting to see how Facebook users react. Internet marketers and social media agencies should be on the lookout to see how the reaction affects the way we interact online.

Would you spend money to send a message to a celebrity on Facebook?

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