Just when you thought had finally gotten used to Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg decided to change things up on you.
During his speech on March 7, Zuckerberg announced some pretty big changes coming to Facebook. Specifically, your newsfeed.
According to Zuckerberg, the newsfeed is one of the most important services of Facebook. The goal is to make it the best personalized newspaper in the world – it should be diverse with experts, social updates from friends and family, and the most important people in your life. It should be visually rich and engaging in content. The new design reflects this goal.
Here’s how they’ll impact you as an author.
But first, a meme (hat-tip to Joe Youngblood for the image)
The following visuals are taken directly from Facebook. If you’d like to see their explanation of the new feed, please go directly to their page. This article just explains how it will influence you, as an author. Actually, you should check out their page. It’s beautiful and you can sign up to be one of the first people to get the new feed.
1. Less Clutter
Right now, less than 40% of the screen on your desktop Facebook newsfeed is news. The Newsfeed is the main page that people use and that 40% of the screen just isn’t cutting it. As many people complained, “the rest of the page is clutter.”
As the saying goes, if users aint happy, aint nobody happy.
The developers at Facebook did something that hasn’t been done before. They redesigned their site so that the desktop users could have the same experience mobile users had. That’s a huge change in the design world.
Here’s the banner they put up:
The fact of the matter is, mobile design is here to stay. If you don’t have a mobile optimized website, people are going to leave. If you want a mobile optimized author website, we can help.
- What? Another version of Facebook?! @AuthorMedia explains. – click to tweet.
- As the saying goes, if the users aint happy, aint nobody happy. – click to tweet.
- Learn how authors can use the new Facebook update to their advantage. – click to tweet.
- Oh Zuck, how could you? The New FB Newsfeed explained. – click to tweet.
- I’m not going to sign up! I hate the idea. What do you think? – click to tweet.
- I’m so excited about the new FB update! What do you think? – click to tweet.
2. More Photos
Photos will be front and center so you can see what is going on. Facebook is already starting to add logos of publishers in the corner of stories. You can expect to see bigger photos, longer summaries, bigger titles. They really do want to make your homepage feel like a newspaper.
It’s time to start thinking like Pulitzer and Hearst. Scratch that. Start thinking like National Geographic. Your articles will be ignored if they don’t have photos that draw readers in. This is your time to shine.
You are a writer. You can tell stories in ways that make people gasp. You make people feel through the power of your words. There are thousands of brands out there that would love the advantage you have.
Here are some other questions to start thinking about:
- What makes your blog posts newsworthy?
- What’s the value you are offering readers?
- What kind of titles will make people want to click?
- What kind of photos will get attention?
- Are you filling out your meta data correctly?
These are things that all of us have to think about when we sit down to write on the internet.
3. Feed Prominence
Facebook has a secret feature called lists. It wasn’t a secret in the early days, but with the constant redesigns, this powerful tool has been forgotten. Every time I work with a new client, I ask them to make lists. You can sort people by interest, how well you know them, or where you know them from. Facebook has a few suggested lists as well.
The newsfeed will be sorted by lists. The ones you interact with the most will be featured automatically. According to Zuckberg, right now 25-30% of your newsfeed contains people you follow (not your friends) and brands/publications you follow. All of this will be integrated into your personalized newspaper.
If you like a celebrity, news about that celebrity will pop up. If you like a newspaper, their recent articles will find their way into your feed. If you like a brand, their posts will be there. If you like a band, you’ll get updates on their tour dates, album releases and other news.
Facebook will also suggest events for you based on events that your friends are going to. You know, the parties that you weren’t invited to. Oh wait, that’s not cool.
That brings me to my last point.
4. Increased Stalkability
This is the dark side of the matter and one that Facebook didn’t address in their presentation. Facebook’s stated goal is to make the world open and connected. That sounds wonderful…ish.
The dark side of the feed is that you can now access what all your friends are reading, sharing, posting, and listening to…and that if you aren’t savvy, people can do the same to you.
I’m not someone who has deep, dark secrets. I’m pretty open online. But there is such a thing as over-sharing. I don’t think my friends or clients need to know when I’m listening to Lady Antebellum on Spotify or that I’m going to a private birthday party.
I’d much rather have people get to know me than collect facts about me. I’m not alone in this either. Many users have decried the privacy settings of Facebook.
So what should you do if you want to be on Facebook but don’t want your life to be an open book?
- Use friend lists
- Update your general privacy settings
- Update your sharing settings
- Adjust your app settings
Overall, I’m excited about the new Facebook newsfeed and I think other authors should be as well. I’ve already signed up to get the new feed. Here are some Facebook how-to articles that will help you get up to speed.
What do you think about it? Are you concerned? Will you sign up?
Question about this –> “Your articles will be ignored if they don’t have photos that draw readers in.”
How “ignored” and by whom? By facebook? Or just by users who skim over photo-less posts? I’d love to hear more about this!
Facebook is putting an emphasis on photos. Think of the way you read a magazine – usually the articles with photos get read. The other ones still get readership…just not much.
Funny, I don’t want a lot of photos. Especially all the shared things that go around. Distracting and difficult to get rid of.
Facebook may ignore picture less posts. I sure don’t! The pictures already take up two screens worth even on a large monitor. Once reason I hide them from everyone I follow. By forcing pictures, they are ignoring the low vision and blind people who go to Facebook.
That’s really good feedback, April. I hadn’t even thought of that.
That;s because April’s focus is on human beings and their lives, not their finances and how best to get them to purchase something. Visuals make a bigger first impression on people because it is less time consuming, and as a general rule, people look for the easiest and fastest way to get what they want, ergo a picture instead of the effort and time to actually read something.
Society as a whole, is being forced into ignorance, by fast-paced commercialism and the ever-updating tools of the greedy.
It is true that people are starting to prefer visual elements over quality text when they are browsing. But it’s important to remember that people need well written articles. I’m excited for authors because once they start thinking like photojournalists, the whole social media world will become easier.
Is there a way (or will there be a way) to filter what kind of photos we see? I want to see photos people have uploaded themselves, but I am so sick of those “shared” photos that say things like, “If you love your grandma click ‘like’ or ‘share,’ but keep scrolling if you want her to die.” Or worse, religious or political rant photos.
Drives me absolutely bonkers, but I can’t completely hide these people because sometimes they post things I want to know (like they’re having surgery this week, etc.).
Facebook doesn’t have a way to block shared content yet. That would be nice! If it’s from a specific person, you can go to their page and edit what kind of updates you follow. For instance, there are some people that I’m friends with that I’ll never see in my newsfeed unless they announce a major life change. It sounds like it might be a good idea for you to do the same.
I use a list as my entry point to FB – that’s where my bookmark button goes, and I rarely visit the FB-selected newsfeed as it is full of rubbish. I wonder what the new look will do to list view? As long as lists don’t go away, I’ll be happy 🙂
Lists will stay! You are ahead of the game, Grace!
Great help and nicely laid out! Easy to share.. thank you!