Facebook Hearkens Back To The Bulletin Board With Rooms

Mobile / Tech

Retro stuff is always popular, isn’t it?  80’s music, vintage clothing, the whole shooting match.  We’ve seen retro ideas and movies take over entertainment as well with countless movie re-makes, sequels, and that sort thing.  What is old, is new again.  Facebook is taking a crack at bringing back a piece of Internet history with Rooms, their more modern take on the Internet Bulletin Boards of the past.

Rooms breaks from Facebook tradition in that it encourages you to start chatting with people that you don’t know.  Some of you may remember the early days of the internet with bulletin boards, chat rooms, and IRC (yes, I know IRC is still around).  Chatting with strangers about common interests, an amazing feeling of togetherness with strangers, and for better or worse, relative anonymity.  Facebook wants to rekindle those feelings with Rooms.

Anyone can create a new Room.  The Room creator will set a topic, color scheme, logo, like button, and Room rules.


Image Courtesy of GigaOm

Once a room is created, the creator can invite people using a somewhat creepy QR system.  Based on all of the sources I’ve seen, you won’t simply read the QR code, you’ll need to either snap a picture, or take a screenshot and Rooms will look through your photos and admit you to any applicable rooms.  I guess Facebook couldn’t possibly release an app without some sort of creepy vibe to it.  I’d be happy if this works in some other way and I’ve simply mis-read other sources, but multiple sources seem to agree that this isn’t a “normal” QR code.

From GigaOm:

A unique QR code for each room that people can share via text, tweet, or Facebook the same way they’d share an image from their phone’s camera. The receiver can then screenshot the code and the next time they open the Rooms app, the app automatically accesses the phone’s camera roll, reads the QR code, and admits them to the Room.

From the New York Times:

(One potential stumbling block is that the links are visual, resembling QR codes, and generally require a visitor to take a screenshot or photo to get access to the room.)

While it’s entirely possible that there are no nefarious motives behind this invite process, it just seems odd to have the app look through your photos every time it’s opened.

In a departure from Facebook’s modus operandi, you won’t log into Rooms with your Facebook, or any other login credentials.  You’ll simply choose a screen name for each room that you enter, and get to chatting.  You can use your real name if you want, or choose something inane and ridiculous (that’d be my choice, obviously).  You’ll be able to post text, photos or videos in your Rooms.


Rooms is now available on iOS at the link below.  There’s been no word on an Android version at this time.  Have you checked out Rooms?  What do you think?  Let us know in the comments below or on your favorite social network.


  Source: GogaOm  Source: New York Times  Download Rooms on iTunes

To Top