Tech Spec: The New Form of Gift Giving

The newest push by the Facebook team is to get you to send gifts to your Facebook friends, but is it really going to replace classic gift giving? Screenshot by Courtland Jeffrey

The newest push by the Facebook team is to get you to send gifts to your Facebook friends, but is it really going to replace classic gift giving? Screenshot by Courtland Jeffrey

While not everyone will admit it, one the best parts about holidays and birthdays is giving gifts. The timeless tradition of wrapping up that little something is starting to become a thing of the past with the push to bring the gift exchange online. For some time now, retailers like Starbucks, Apple, Google, Target and Amazon have made buying gift cards online an option (which can be sent via email or printed). While this has been integrated as a helpful means of gift giving for people who are geologically far away, sending gifts online has not fully taken over. But Facebook has recently taken a move to change this dynamic some more.

Every time a friend on Facebook celebrates a day of birth, a small advertisement link appears just below the text box for you to send a gift along with your congratulatory message. Brands like Starbucks, Sephora and Oreo have all signed on to sell their good on the online social interface. Categories like food, fun, wine, style, flowers & gift baskets and more (with approximate pricing staying between $10 and $40) can be browsed without leaving your house.

While this feature has brought a new level of ease to the gift-giving venture, it also holds a certain laziness to it. My understanding is that the main result of giving someone a gift is the amount of effort and care that the giver puts into the present. But this new style of showing your appreciation is accomplishing the exact opposite of its purpose. Many view the new Facebook gift option as a lazy way of showing that you care but only so much.

Facebook aimed to create a new field in the Internet world, where giving gifts became a one-click process, but what they have failed to realize is that some things need effort. Just expect this to become another feature like online gift cards; everyone can expect the occasional Facebook gift in the future from some distant friend or relative, but relying on it probably is not your best bet.

 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to message me on Twitter @Court_Jeffrey or via email at cejeffre@asu.edu. Happy gifting!