Ed.Note: This post originally appeared in my Postmedia News social media column.
As a writer, I’m a bit of a language nut.
A clever turn of phrase, a well-executed verbal thrust, makes my heart soar. My French is passable (I am a Lacombe, after all) and many decades ago I was fluent in Brazilian Portuguese. Both those languages are music to my ears.
“On March 10th (Thursday), Facebook is deprecating its popular FBML application, which is how many users added custom content to their Facebook Pages in the past. To help brands cope with this change, Involver has launched our new Static HTML For Pages application, which allows users to customize their Facebook tab with either an image or static HTML code in a few quick steps.”
Huh? Deprecating? Dictionary.com defines deprecating as:
1. To express earnest disapproval of.
2. To urge reasons against; protest against (a scheme, purpose, etc.).
3. To depreciate; belittle.
4. To pray for deliverance from (archaic).
I doubt Facebook is expressing earnest disapproval of its FBML app, though I myself have prayed for deliverance from it on occasion.
Whatever did they mean? Wikipedia sheds some light on this semantic mystery by defining deprecation used in a computing context as “software features that are superseded and should be avoided.”
Hmmm. What’s a poor marketer to do when all he wants to know is if the app that powers his pages is about to die or not?
A little more Google searching brings some clarity via AllFacebook.com:
“The most common inquiry we’ve heard from readers over the past few days is related to Facebook’s handling of the extremely popular static FBML application which enabled people to easily customize their pages. The most important thing to know is that if you have already installed the static FBML application, it will continue to work. However on March 11th of this year, ‘you will no longer be able to create new FBML apps and pages will no longer be able to add the static FBML app.’ ”
Aha -finally someone tells me plainly my pages are “grandfathered in” for a while. Retired versus annihilated. Phew. With the threat of page extinction over, my attention turned to the future. If new pages should be customized with something other than the soon to be defunct FBML, what should that tool be?
Which brings me back to Involver.com. I already use their apps to add my YouTube channel and Twitter feed to my Facebook page (facebook.com/communicatto) and they are slick. Easy to use, stable and free, the Involver apps add real value.
I’ll chalk that goofy email up to an engineer at Involver being mistakenly allowed to talk to customers. The plain language movement obviously has not yet hit parts of Silicon Valley.
Regardless, it has been a while since I tarted up my Facebook page. I’ll try the Involver app and another that’s caught my attention, Pagemodo, and let you know how it goes.
The only deprecation likely to ensue will be self-deprecating humour.