Facebook launched a new iPhone app on Thursday called Rooms that will let users create small message boards devoted to specific topics—similar to perhaps Reddit or Yahoo Message Boards.
The new app is not brandished with Facebook’s logo. On the contrary, the company is trying to keep Rooms very separate from its social-networking site and won’t even ask users to connect to their Facebook address book. Anyone can start a chat about something and invite people they think would be interested. They can create a QR code that can be posted on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, that allows people to access and join the discussion. Users can then post photos, text and video to the discussion room to enhance the conversations, according to The Verge:
In each room you can create your own username and identity, and post or comment with friends or strangers about anything from minimalist furniture to Kendama or Destiny. Like on conventional message boards, you can set moderators, pin posts, set age restrictions, type out some ground rules for posting, and boot bad members. You can set a wallpaper and theme, and even alter the "Like" button that appears below posts to be another verb. But Rooms has no connection to Facebook or your Facebook friends in any way.
Though not linked to Facebook, the app provides a new way small-business owners can spark conversations among their customers and interested parties. For example, a yoga studio could host a message board on the benefits of yoga, while a local restaurant could discuss the farm-to-table movement.
Businesses will be able to add to the conversation—similar to Pinterest or Facebook—with photos and videos.
Rooms is yet one more way to engage customers in a conversation and hopefully, in turn, keep them loyal.
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