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Facebook’s Poke feature, a tiny but stalwart staple since the network’s beginning, got a huge facelift last week in the form of the new native Poke App for the iPhone.

Poke’s functions are simple, very much like the original (occasionally creepy) feature that has been part of the Facebook ecosystem since the beginning. The Poke app enriches the experience while maintaining the instant and lighthearted nature original to the concept. Users send short messages, videos, photos or pokes with a time limit on viewing. Recipients are given up to ten seconds to view the poke before it self destructs. If the recipient takes a screen shot before time expires, the sender is notified through a small highlight bubble in their app.

The similarities are plentiful between Poke and Snapchat, a cross-platform app built outside of Facebook’s social graph. There are several factors working in favor of each, including the ease of use. Facebook is a billion users strong with the the ability to market the new app directly through multiple platforms, and has the name recognizance to push interest in the app. Snapchat is an attractive option because it it functions outside of Facebook’s social graph, which means the ability to connect with a broader audience under any username without giving them access to personal details like birthdays, family etc. Snapchat also has a native Android app ans is not not limited to iPhone (Poke is, currently).

Poke has little application for brands, but integration with pages could mean flash sales or specials, instant gratification contests or other forms of social gaming. The real value for individuals comes in leaving behind a flood of carefully curated wall posts, pins and tweets in favor of a one-on-one instant experience. The app is nearly real-time and it’s private (sort of).  So download, compose, poke and take screen shots because this message will self-destruct in 10, 9, 8…

About the Author

Lou Perseghin

A listener first, Lou is highly organized and focused on the processes and strategies that keep our accounts (and clients) happy. He is currently ChatterBlast’s Account Director, with assistance from his pit bull Daisy, who is often found snoozing in sunspots around the office.

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