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Inbound Marketing Blog

Facebook Updates: the Good and the Bad

More changes to Facebook! YAY!

I’m sure you've noticed that Facebook has, once again, made some changes. Given the amount of time it’s been since we’ve seen any major updates, it’s about time they rolled out something new and different, right? Here’s a breakdown of the major updates and, of course, my thoughts on them.

News Feed

This change rolled out to most users on Tuesday and naturally came with it’s own brand of reaction via the social networking giant. Basically, they got rid of the “Top News” and “Most Recent” categories while adding a “Live Feed” ticker on the right. Although I like the fact that Facebook is trying to filter out the clutter and show you the content it thinks you want to see, time will tell how well this actually works. It’s one of those ideas that sounds good in your head, but the implementation is not as great as you imagined. But I could be wrong - we’ll have to see how this evolves.

On a brighter note, I love the new way the News Feed displays photos! Oh and my guess on the “Live Feed” ticker - it will be gone quickly. It’s another great idea in theory, but not so great once you see it! In the meantime, check your privacy settings. I’m shocked at what's posted there from my friends' profiles, so make sure you are covered so you're not exposed in ways you don't want to be!

Lists

Okay - seriously - this should have been a change by itself. I have been using "Lists" for years, and even I’m confused on how to utilize this new feature! From my point of view, Facebook is trying to compete head-on with Google+ with this feature - but is not doing a very good job at doing so. To be honest - I need to get into this feature more and spend some time re-organizing my lists before I can truly comment on it. Stay tuned…

Subscribe

Perhaps the coolest new feature (IMHO) is the option to “subscribe” to updates. This feature allows you to “subscribe” to public updates from people you may or may not know without them approving you first or being your friend. This is the first time we’ve seen Facebook do anything to try and compete directly with Twitter (although it’s probably fueled more by Google+).

I think this is awesome. Now, I don’t need to worry about being friends with people in order for them to get my content - they can just subscribe and get my updates. This eliminates worries about distant friends or acquaintances seeing my photos or other private items I would rather they not see. This is huge for journalists, public figures, and anyone who likes to create public content but wants to keep their private life separate!

Timeline

The biggest change that Zuckerberg announced yesterday was "Timeline." This is a complete re-design of your existing profile. The idea is to try and provide a “deeper conversation” by organizing your (Facebook) life via a timeline. This will give new friends the opportunity to scroll through your past activity, organized by month or year, and tell the story of you. Oh, and did I mention that it’s (supposedly) displayed in a unique, visually appealing way? That’s the attraction of "Timeline" - you don’t have to keep scrolling down to learn more about someone (or stalk their history). Facebook saves you time by organizing it for you!

My initial thought on "Timeline" is that it’s an updated version of MySpace. But as I play around with it more, it’s starting to be just like every new feature on Facebook. Everyone will hate it at first, complain about it for months, and then wonder how the heck they ever lived without it. Smile

As you can see (below), the design is a huge departure from the original Facebook profile: you have the opportunity to choose a “Cover Picture” which is displayed at the top, there are two columns now with information instead of one, and your friend list is combined into one small box. You’ll also see the “Timeline” on the top right, allowing you to take a trip down memory lane with one click (but do you want to...?).

My updated Facebook profile

The "Timeline" feature is kind of cool, but I wonder how important it will be to the average user. Do I really need the ability to re-visit my past all the time? Apparently Mark Zuckerberg thinks I do. He has a funny way of making sure we never forget the past…no matter how hard we want to!

What do you think about these changes? I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this!

Christina Torri works with Social Media and Internet Marketing clients for Mindscape at Hanon McKendry

Topics: Strategy, Odds and Ends, Marketing

MINDSCAPE

Written by MINDSCAPE

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