Digital Marketing News – Where are the new Facebook changes heading?



Where are Facebook changes heading?

Is it me or does Facebook seem to be running scared from Twitter and G+? It’s understandable that it would want to keep its product fresh with rising competition from elsewhere in the world of social networking but it looks to me like Facebook is frantically replicating key features and throwing them into the mix. Causing much consternation from many users.

First of all came the updated friends list; this allows users to manage their contacts better and share updates only with key groups. Much like G+ circles, it allows you to group your friends and control what you share and with whom. It also means that you get more from the people you care about most and remove posts from people you don’t.

Next came the subscribe button, a nifty little tool that allows you to start seeing news updates from profiles that aren’t in your friends list. It means that you can see public news items from people you are interested in and allow others to do the same. By activating the subscribe button on your profile, users can chose to see the updates you decide to share publicly.

For your existing friends, the subscribe button allows you to customise the feeds you see from certain individuals. We all have someone in our list who incessantly plays games and posts each and every update into our news feed. With subscribe you can turn these off.

And the most recent update is the news update which now displays what Facebook considers to be top stories personally selected for you. It does this based on lots of factors such as who the person is to you, how many comments or likes an update receives etc. Tope stories change depending on how long it’s been since your last visit and any images linked to top stories display larger than previously.

Facebook news feed

There is also a news ticker down the right hand side of your page which shows real time updates as they happen. So you can see what your friends are doing while they are online without filling up your news feed.

I have to say that the news feed looks great and minimises the number of updates cluttering up the front page. The stories chosen for me by Facebook don’t seem to come from the people I interact with or view most often which is what I’d expected. And at least for now I can change back to the old look Facebook if I want to.

With all the changes being rolled out, it does appear that Facebook have lost the plot a little bit. While the ideas behind the changes appear sound and clearly are meant to rival the competition by pinching their key features, it feels like Facebook is trying to be all things to all people.

The news feed and ticker now feel like I’m being rushed through my Facebook visit where I would normally have browsed leisurely, something Mark Zuckerberg stated only a few months ago was him aim. The new friends lists feel like Google+ circles, great because they provided a tool for people who wanted to manage a range of contacts and acquaintances in one place, but do I really use Facebook to do that?

It certainly seems like Facebook is covering all of its bases and new tools are always worth trying out but if those changes fundamentally alter the user experience and the underlying principles of the service it does raise a few questions about where this is all heading.

The changes certainly caused a fair amount of negative comment across the web this week and a lot of users don’t seem to be in favour. It will be interesting to see what Facebook unveils at its upcoming f8 conference. Whatever it is I hope it gets a better reaction from the crowd that these recent changes have.

All of the changes are covered in Facebook’s blog

Editor: Lots of peoples  reaction to the live feed was “I thought thats what my feed was anyway”. Hence there have been lots of comments about it allowing you to Facebook while you’re in Facebook: 😉

I think in reality the changes will help people cope with the volume of things they have ‘liked’. The risk was that otherwise we’d all stop ‘liking’ things as it was becoming manageable. As for all the people moaning about the changes; It’s Facebook, if you don’t like it , don’t use it.


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