Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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FaceBook's new look-will it change how you use it?

by fouts

Everybody’s talking about the new FaceBook homepage. Some hate it and some love it, but one thing is clear, FaceBook means to become the page you set as your personal home-page. You can import your feeds from your other sharing services like Twitter, FriendFeed, and even Google Reader shared items. Heck, Social Median just announced they’ll be using Facebook Connect as their preferred way to login to the site, so little by little the other networks are falling into line.

As much as I’ve pooh-pooh ed FaceBook as a networking tool for professionals in the past, these new changes will make it a real player for anyone with a lot of networks to watch and people to connect with. I have to say I like the new look. Suddenly I can actually FIND things on Facebook, which makes me more likely to actually use it. The structure is more intuitive and customizable and the filters and highlights areas make a big difference in usability.

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Landing pages

Because of the new layout tabs, you’ll be able to send users to the page directly with a unique URL (rather than the old method of trying to walk them through how to find what you wanted to show them). You can create a different landing page for business, different projects, friends or just for your favorite vampires (I couldn’t resist). You’ll also be seeing much better stats through FaceBook Insights, letting you learn a lot more about what people are REALLY interested in.

Filters

The filters feature allows users to customize the activity stream. You can create different channels for the groups you follow, one for family, one for business and so on, allowing you to quickly scan for important details without having to scroll through everyone’s updates. It works similar to Tweetdeck (the popular Twitter client) in this way, allowing you to group people in logical categories and maybe creating a group for the more vocal members of your list so you can actually see the rest of your friends’ activities.

There is still some work to do to make it user friendly though. You can delete someone from a group with one click, but not add a new friend. or example, every time you want to move someone to a group you have to go to the Friends page to make the change.

Highlights

The highlights section keeps a running record of what’s popular from your social graph. You can see likes and comments on your friends blog posts or status messages, and see if there is a surge of interest in a particular FaceBook page or fan page. Again there is room for improvement since you can’t control the flow of information in this channel, but it’s an interesting start.

Story options

FaceBook used to have a panel that let you decide what kind of stories you wanted to see in your stream and used an equalizer like slider to allow you to set preferences for the frequency of each kind of story item. It’s a little different now. You can still decide which of your apps you want to see content from, but you can’t control the quantity of the flow.

Overall I like the changes, and I think as time progresses FaceBook will only get stronger. Will it supplant FriendFeed and Twitter? Not in my house. But I will start giving Facebook more credit as a networking tool.

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  • http://snapblogger.wordpress.com Lynn Morton

    I think some of the ideas behind the changes are great for the users, and in that respect I like them. Though since my association uses Facebook as a way to connect our members with each other and with the organization, the changes are changing what we can use the tools for.

    I have to re-evaluate the way we distribute information b/c with the changes to fan pages, I can no longer post to the wall like I did before (it's a smaller amount of characters allowed). I don't want to inundate with fan page updates, but I no longer have a space for a mid-size amount of text besides the notes feature. I equate notes with a blog feature and some of the stuff we distribute isn't blog material. So I need to look at how we distribute and what we distribute and is that way still providing value.

    Thanks for grounding me a little more in the "user" experience b/c I was blinded by the "oh crap everything is different" effect. :)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jfouts jfouts

    Yeah, I confess my first thought was" oh no, here we go re-tooling again" on some of my client sites. But I think in the long run it will offer new opportunities.It will be interesting to see what you do with those fan pages. Let me know how it works out!

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/jfouts jfouts

    Yeah, I confess my first thought was" oh no, here we go re-tooling again" on some of my client pages. But I think in the long run it will offer new opportunities.It will be interesting to see what you do with those fan pages. Let me know how it works out!

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  • http://www.dropshippingweb.ch dropshipping

    I really hate the new design. I think it isn't really usefull.

  • http://www.getnichesocializer.com/ Niche Socializer

    I think I really love the "New" facebook..
    It's more user friendly and more customizable..
    the filters and highlight features is really cool..
    Facebook is the best.. :D

  • Justin Williams11

    how can i change my old fb look to the new one…kindly help

  • http://janetfouts.com Janet Fouts

    A lot of people want to know how to enable the new Facebook timeline. For the moment you’ll need to actually create a Facebook app so you’re a “developer” in order to gain access. 

    Here’s a tutorial on Mashable on how to do it. It’s not hard, really. http://bit.ly/mQL7FB As for when the rest of the world will see it? Nobody really knows. Any day now is the current joke.

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