Social media has exploded in the past 10 years. While it was commonplace for a user to have one or two social accounts a decade ago, now nearly every facet of technology is social. People have logins for their health devices, linking you to your peers to try and be the fittest person possible. A lot of organizations and videogames even have tacked-on social support as an afterthought, just to increase the reach of their products by word of mouth. Rooms is the newest effort by Facebook to expand in this space they helped crowd, but right now we’re not really sure it’s worth connecting with.
The idea of Rooms is to hearken back to the old days of online communication, where simple chatrooms were king. Users could log on, find a topic they were interested in, and talk about it. To accommodate, the app has a degree of anonymity to prevent people from knowing your identity (unlike Facebook)—you can choose to remain nameless or go by an online callsign.
It’s a neat idea, but the actual chatrooms are a bit scarce currently, no doubt due in part to the growing pains of the app. Some of the biggest rooms have very little actual interaction or worthwhile content, and the “like” and comment ratio is fairly thin.
The UI is a bit obtuse, most notably because every room is joined by way of QR codes. Whether the room is right there for the taking on your device or not, you have to snap a shot of the code to get in the actual room—even if it means taking a screenshot and adding another step to the process. This is by design, according to the app’s creators.
So basically, people are going to Google rooms anyways online, find them, and take a QR snapshot. It feels odd then that a lack of a true search feature would be missing from Rooms. There are also no real bells and whistles outside of text, picture, and video posts under 90 seconds. There is also no way to actually message someone directly—again, this is supposed to be a bare-bones experience.
I get what the developers were going for with a barebones system that brings us back to basics, but you’re better off just doing it yourself in an IRC chatroom somewhere before Facebook starts to monetize you in Rooms.
Rooms is a free iOS app that can be downloaded in the iTunes App Store.