One skill most of us will say we don’t have, or that we struggle with, is the ability to talk about ourselves.
Whether it’s our accomplishments, dreams and aspirations, strengths and weaknesses, we often clam up.
It’s one reason why we struggle with first dates and job interviews. We sometimes fumble through conversations, not knowing how much information to share, what to promote and what to hold back.
You’d think that we’d be better at this by now. After all, communication research shows that even the most introverted people have found their voices on social media.
And at a time when Facebook and other social media platforms are being blamed for the disintegration of civil discourse, some platforms are finding new ways to enhance our desire to connect with others in meaningful ways.
I’m betting Facebook would rather us to talk about something other than politics.
So, in December, Facebook introduced “Did You Know,” a feature that prompts users to answer questions about themselves.
The new feature is based on the social networking app “tbh” (which stands for “to be honest”). The original version of tbh gave users the ability to anonymously answer questions about other users.
Facebook acquired the tbh app in October.
Teenagers were the heaviest adopters of tbh. Before moving over to Facebook, tbh boasted more than 5 million downloads and 2.5 million daily active users.
The polling-like questions on tbh allowed teens to answer about other users – questions that were mostly friendly, and often mundane.
Facebook likely saw the acquisition as a way to attract new teenage users – a demographic they have been struggling to reach and retain, at least in terms of daily active usage.
But the version of tbh now available on Facebook is different from the original app. Now the focus is on you – prompting you to talk about yourself, albeit through answers to randomly generated questions.
Like most Facebook features, this one is easy to use
Finding the “Did You Know” feature depends on the way you access Facebook (e.g., app, browser).
In my browser, “Did You Know” appears on the left side of the profile screen, under the “Intro” and “Photos” sidebars.
Click on “Did You Know,” and you’ll be prompted to answer a question. If you don’t like the question, simply click “Next Question” for a new prompt.
As you answer questions, you’ll slowly populate a forum with new details about your likes, dislikes and more.
One prompt was “The video game I’ve played the most is...” I answered, “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (thanks for keeping track of my hours, Nintendo Switch).”
That answer quickly generated responses from friends.
Remember that answers appear as posts on your profile and, if needed, you should adjust the privacy settings for that post (e.g., public, friends, etc.).
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is professor of communication studies the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA where he also directs the graduate program in professional communication. He researches and writes about communication and relationships, parenting and sports. He writes a weekly column for The Vindicator and Tribune-Chronicle newspapers on social media and society.