I’ll admit it. I’m probably a pawn in Facebook’s game. But I don’t really care.
Believe me, I don’t have any delusions about Facebook’s goals. I fully understand that Facebook is a business that hopes to make money off of businesses that are marketing to me. I understand that they want my information so that they can use it to make more money off of advertisers. I’m OK with that. I also am fully aware of what I choose to share and not to share, and how I choose to use Facebook.
Also, while Facebook is trying to put more emphasis on businesses buying ads and paying for applications, they are striking out on me. I don’t click on ads. Period. And I rarely use any apps.
All in all though, I really like the new layout, and in the past I have been frustrated by many of the changes. I generally don’t let it get to me like some people, because I understand that Facebook has to change in order to move forward.
I have plenty of friends who even now don’t like the new interface. It’s interesting that the first outcry was about too much information, and a loss of privacy, while most of the complaints I hear now are about a lack of information coming through the news feed.
So why do I like the new Facebook so much?
1. Increased engagement – This is a big reason for Facebook making these changes. And I have plenty of friends who don’t share my experience, but I notice that I’m engaging others more. I’m engaging more people, more often. Even spending more time engaging people who I never really saw in my timeline much before and that has broadened my social network. I’m also noticing a lot more engagement from a number of my friends, though I do have some friends who are saying they are using Facebook less and engaging less for a variety of reasons. In my mind, as both an individual user and a marketer, more engagement is a good thing.
2. More sharing – Not only am I commenting more or “liking” more things, but I’m spending more time sharing more things. This is due both to the new newsfeed and the ticker. I hated the ticker at first, but now love it. I’m able to react more quickly to things as they are happening, things that would have been buried in my news feed and I might have missed. More sharing means there is a better chance of “objects” spreading further throughout Facebook and the Internet. These could be anything from videos and pictures to articles or blog posts. And of course as we share more, we get more of that engagement I mentioned in point 1. I’ve had some pretty interesting discussions online the past few days as a result of this.
3. Discovering new things – points 1 and 2 make this one possible. And I’ve mentioned this before, but the integration of Spotify with Facebook is brilliant, at least from the point of view of being a lover of music. I now have a much better chance of seeing what my friends are playing, and sampling new music. Plus, as I play songs, a lot of my friends are commenting, as we learn about mutual musical tastes and interests. By the way, tomorrow’s post will be a guest post from my friend Denis Gauthier who will be discussing Spotify from the perspective of being an indie musician.
4. A more personalized experience – Some might say that more sharing and more engagement is a bad thing, particularly in light of what Facebook does with that information. But it’s really no different than how Google operates. Google tracks all of our searches and online habits in order to deliver a better experience for us, while at the same time, delivering ads that are more relevant to our searching habits. Now Facebook can do this. I’ve found that if I mention something in a status update, the ads on the right hand side often mirror the content of my conversation.
5. A more customizable experience – Facebook has always been customizable, but you really had to jump through hoops. Now, all of the settings on privacy, sharing, and more, are much easier to access. And as you make changes, Facebook learns, and will adjust your ticker and newsfeed accordingly, offering you more or less of certain types of posts. This has confused a lot of people who believe they have lost functionality, when in fact they have gained it.
6. The Timeline – Not everyone has it yet, but boy, the Facebook timeline is a major improvement over the old wall. It allows you to find anything and everything without difficulty, and helps you tell the story of your life (if that’s what you want). I almost never went to people’s walls in the past, instead keeping my engagement in the news feed. Now I enjoy looking at the timelines of other people, just to learn more about them.
All in all, it just comes down to the fact that Facebook has gotten more social. That’s the point, isn’t it?
What are your favorite or least favorite aspects of the “new” Facebook? Are you finding that you are engaging or sharing more or less?