Recent Facebook Changes Are Good (F8 2011)

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

September 23, 2011. In my opinion, the new Facebook changes are positive. Think about it, people were starting to get a little bored with Facebook, Google+ made some waves over the summer, and other networks like Diaspora, are getting ready to launch.

So sure…this puts pressure on Facebook to stay up to date with features and functions and they have to work hard to remain relevant. That is what this last effort was geared towards. In a nutshell, what did they do:

  • The Ticker: Made it easier to see updates in real time. It might be distracting right now, but people will get used to it and it is really simple to update/comment from the ticker.
  • Lists: Similar to Google+ you can break up your feed into groups of people and send updates to groups of people. Facebook tried this with groups a while back, but that did not seem to go over too well.  Google+ did it better and it is not rocket science for Facebook to iterate on that. This version of filtering seems to hit the mark a bit better.
  • Top Stories/Recent News:  Truth be told, it is a great feature. Essentially the concept is, show me what is most relevant based on my behavior and connections or simply show me everything. There is a time and place for both views. This could still use a little work, but again having more control over what shows up is great and the ability to toggle easily between the two views is helpful (I will admit toggling was easier in the previous version, but it looks like they are working on this).
  • The Timeline:  The concept is cool, but I do see some opportunities for selective memory happening in the timeline and also some groans as things people don’t want to show up – show up. In some cases, time can heal all wounds, but the timeline might make that a bit more difficult. So…jury is out, but I like the idea.
  • Photos:  Over the last couple of weeks, Facebook changed the photos in a couple of ways. More resolution and using a white background. This makes the photos look better overall. Also, they have increased the size of photos and media within the news feed. Obviously Facebook noticed that people tend to post a lot of media, why not make it easier to read. I think this was a good pickup.

So really, is all of the above worth complaining that much about. Take a couple of weeks, get used to the changes, and if they still bug you say something. This is now the 8th or 9th major change since Facebook has become mainstream and at the end of each cycle, everyone settles in. With this last iteration, Facebook is giving us more content to engage with while reducing the flow of content – not an easy task.

I suppose sometimes they feel like a parent saying “we know better,” but if we trust the Facebook team we find that more often than not they are right in the long run. And, when they make a mistake they will admit it.

At the end of the day, I give them credit for continuing to try and appluad them for actually finding a way to help me engage with more content and people in this latest round of changes.

As usual…any thoughts welcome.

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