You may be feeling a little perplexed if you have logged onto Facebook in the last week. The new updates and creation of the Open Graph phenomenon are supposed to help users share better with others, but it does all look a little different. Here is a short summary of some of the new changes:
Inserting the Ticker
The new Ticker on the right hand side of the page is the most obvious change.
It shows you the same stuff you were seeing in your News Feed but is designed to show you instantaneous, real-time status updates that you can immediately interact with. When you hover over the ticker item you can see the full story and join the conversation as it is happening right now. You will still see posts in your News Feed but Facebook is placing them in two different streams in order of their immediate relevance.
This is your personal story from Facebook shown in one page, a new kind of profile. At the moment, as your status updates grow over time, the only way to discover what you posted back in time is by clicking on the older posts button and scrolling back through. Often you (and others looking at your profile) will only get to see recent and possibly insignificant posts (like what you had for breakfast). But now with the new timeline, those more important stories that you’ve shared become prominent rather than being pushed down the list as you add more stuff. Timeline is a lot more visual, you’ll notice a giant photo right at the top which acts as an album cover. You can personalise your Timeline as you wish, making some events more important than others or choose not to show them at all. Facebook are integrating the Timeline progressively over the next few months so if you don’t see it now, you will soon!
Integrate your Apps
Now let’s auto-share what you do around the web. As part of creating this new style profile, you now have the ability to integrate apps into your Facebook Timeline. You no longer need to actively add what you’re listening to, what you are cooking or where you have been running, into your Facebook status to share it with friends. When you are using your favourite app (Runkeeper, Spotify, Nike +, iHeartradio), all you have to do is click “add to Timeline” and it automatically updates Facebook with what you are doing on the App.
However, this could be dangerous. Do you really want everyone knowing your exact moves or what you are reading on-line, ALL the time? Is this too much of a US phenomenon to catch on in the UK? This isn’t necessarily a bad feature but people need to know what they are signing up to. It is important to know that when you add an App to your timeline (and this applies to any status update too) you can choose to share your activity with “Public”, “Friends” or “Custom”. By clicking “Custom” you get the option to hide your activity from everyone but yourself.
Lists: Grouping your Friends and subscribing
Following the launch of Google+ and their neat way of publishing news and updates to “circles” rather than all contacts, Facebook has changed the way you group your Friends. You can now create Lists making it easier to share certain things with certain people, after all, would you want to share photos of your latest night out with your mum or just your closest friends?? Along with this, you can also choose who sees your photos or posts with just one click in the box at the side instead of the previous method of changing your settings. Tagging has become clearer too and you need to give permission to be tagged before the item is published (you can remove the tag at any time too).
It’s also now possible to choose who you receive status updates from by subscribing to those people and only hearing about what you are really interested in. You may also want to hear from people who you don’t know personally such as journalists, musicians or political figures. With the new “Subscribe” button, it’s easier to do both – you can use it to choose what you see in your news feed, hear from people who aren’t your Friends and let people hear from you even if you’re not one of their Friends.
What does this mean for businesses?
It has become much easier for users to pick and choose who and what appears in their News Feed so keep your posts up to date and light hearted. Funny or engaging photos and videos will get viewed and shared much more than general updates on the weather.