Posted by: Veronica Graves | September 23, 2011

The Biz: Snapshot on Facebook Changes

With so many tweaks, upgrades and major changes to Facebook in the past few days, who even knows where to start to get the skinny on what’s going on with our virtual lifeline? A good place to turn is the Facebook blog, but naturally it’s going to be a bit biased as to how “awesome” these changes are. So we’ve compiled a quick rundown on the new (for now) Facebook, complete with resources for more information. Hopefully we get a bit of breathing room before the next wave of changes.

  • Open Graph: After only a year of existence, Open Graph is already undergoing a major change. The new redesigned feature is meant to allow people to easily access all types of information from a wide range of publishers, from music, news, games, and more. As part of the updated Open Graph came the revamped news feed, the real-time news ticker, and changes for app developers.
  • New Layouts: There are four major changes to how your Facebook will now look. Added bonus: your status updates can now be longer, up to 5,000 characters.
      • Revamped Homepage News Feed: Hosts top news and updates from your friends and fan pages on the top of the page. It’s also now easier to hide stories by hovering over the post and clicking the scroll down bar to hide the post or even unsubscribe from that person’s posts. Also, the status box is now hidden, making it look more like Tweet Deck.
      • Real-Times News Ticker: Place to track “lightweight” actions, thoughts, etc. Located on the top right side of the screen. Hate the ticker? Remove it on with a Chrome plugin!
      • Revamped Friend Lists: Your friends can now be found divided into Twitter-esque lists . Facebook introduced “smart lists” that auto-creates lists for family, city, work and school as well as two non-smart lists – close friends and acquaintances.
      • Album Layout: The new layout for photo albums appears in the newsfeed as an artistic stack of three photos for a more creative view.
  • No More “Likes”: Well, it’s not completely going away, at least for now. You can still “like” things, but now you have other options as well. Research found that users related the “Like” button to endorsements of the post or article. Wanting users to share more without the fear that they are endorsing a product, Facebook is changing the “Like” feature to “Watched,” “Listened” and “Read” buttons. The social networking site is also taking this a step further by allowing developers to create their own action buttons called Gestures. Be on the lookout for “Challenge,” “Cheer,” “Cook” and more.
  • Subscribe Button: Allows users to follow public updates without “friending” the user. What this means? Fan pages may become obsolete and it’s easier to keep updated on relevant information of your real friends, kids, students, etc. The trick here is that it has to be a public profile. So if you want subscribers, change your privacy to “Public,” and if you don’t want subscribers, change it to “Private.”
  • Profile Timeline: This is by far my favorite new change. It’s a fancy social media scrapbook. Highlight your favorite photos, moments in life, videos and Facebook posts in the timeline feature so friends can see what you think are the most important parts of your life and your Facebook profile page. Facebook helps get you started by automatically loading content from your profile history but you can tweak the information and even add content that you created pre-Facebook. (Life before FB? Gasp!)
  • Open Graph for Developers: This is big news for developers and users of third-party apps on Facebook. Essentially there are four key updates for developers: 1. Apps are divided into four types: communication, games, media and lifestyle. 2. Apps no longer have to ask for permission to post content over and over again – you grant it once and it lives on forever. 3. App news will appear in the news ticker, but not in the News Feed. 4. Users can now share experiences real-time, like listening to a specific song through Spotify and sharing on Facebook so your friends can stream it too.

What are your thoughts to the recent Facebook changes?

Follow Olson Communications Inc. account executive, Veronica Graves on Twitter @vgraves.

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