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:
- 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?