Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, Facebook Creative Labs department was shut down back in 2005, so Rooms.me service is no longer available.
Remember the good old days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and we did all our online mingling in various forums and newsgroups? People who would never ever meet in the „real life“ as we called it, complete strangers, people who had little in common save for one topic or thread became the best of (keyboard) friends.
We had our nicknames and pseudonyms, our online identities based on what we said and how we contributed, not who you are and who you know outside the closed community of the forum. If you’re feeling a bit sentimental, you’re not the only one. Apparently Facebook is too, according to this blog post dedicated to the launch of Rooms.ME:
It doesn’t matter where you live, what you look like or how old you are – all of us are the same size and shape online. This can be liberating, but only if we have places that let us break away from the constraints of our everyday selves.
Rooms is a new app from Facebook’s Creative Labs, their own special take on on those web services of yore. Basically, Rooms is a mix of a forum and news group, with a pinch of Reddit and a dash of Instagram that lets you create places (well, rooms) for the things you’re into, and invite others who are into them too.
A room in Rooms is basically a feed of photos, videos, and text, like the one you have on Instagram or Facebook, but revolving solely around the topic of the room. Think forum threads, only with nicer design and easier multimedia integration. You can create them yourselves, or join the ones created by others that peak your interest.
Make Your Room Your Own
The rooms are also completely customizable, flexible, creative tools designed to allow you to create the best environment for a discussion on a given topic, and you can change the text and emoji on your like button, add a cover photo and dominant colors, create custom “pinned” messages, customize member permissions, and even set whether or not people can link to your content on the web.
As opposed to Facebook, who insists on you using your “real” identity, rooms lets you create one or thousands of alter-egos, as Facebook Josh explains:
That’s why in Rooms you can be “Wonder Woman” – or whatever name makes you feel most comfortable and proud. You can even create different identities for different contexts. In my room for technology industry discussions I am “Josh” but in another about backpacking travel I am “jm90403” – a homage to my hometown zip code. Sometimes I want to go with my real name and sometimes I prefer a nickname. It depends.
Rooms.Me is a project that will be built one brick (or room) at a time, and everyone is invited to contribute to building a community there:
Our initial focus is on working closely with a small set of community builders. From talking with founders of successful communities, we’ve learned that many of the most successful communities on the internet grew very slowly. If you think your room has the potential to be one of those, we’d love to figure out how we can help. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, along with an invite to your room and a paragraph about why you think your room has the potential to be a meaningful community for a certain type of person. We’re committed to helping you succeed.
Ready to try it out? It’s waiting for you on Rooms.Me!