Much of the buzz in social media has been, as is expected, around the changes announced by Facebook regarding users’ profiles and news feeds. “Timeline”, which will replace each user’s wall, is designed to essentially be a form of scrapbook for users, accumulation the different pieces of content from each user and transforming it into a story of their life. In addition, changes to the news feed include a different approach to the separation of content in terms of relevant and chronology, plus a new “ticker” which will update in real-time and include the less relevant information which as a result has a much shorter lifespan.
I’ve tried to draw a few conclusions in terms of what this means for Facebook users moving forward and how it could impact on their behaviour and activity whilst using the network:
More time/effort invested in the network – from Facebook’s perspective, the Timeline is a great invention, since if users are to get the most out of it, they need to put the effort into populating it with activity and content. Given how visually amazing Timeline is, I predict that they will, which will only serve to stimulate more comment and activity between users on the network.
More information shared – as a result of increased user activity, we’re probably going to see more information shared on Facebook. This is of course massively beneficial for Facebook from a commercial perspective, since this could lead to more revenue.
Engaging with more applications (better application integration) – it seems that applications have received a significant overhaul in the process of the announcement; applications will be integrated into users’ timelines in a much more seamless fashion than before, focusing on user activity in a passive way rather than active. Since applications now only need to have a single permissions process approved by users, we’re likely to see more content being subconsciously shared by users and, as a result, it will be easier to spread really engaging content throughout the network; engagement will beget engagement. As an aside and from a brand perspective, this will really incentivise brands to be come part of users’ day to day lives in Facebook, in order to reap the most benefit. Apps could become the best friend of brands and their respective social media agencies.
Not at all – there is naturally a distinct possibility that this will do nothing to alter Facebook user behaviour. For a lot of users, it is probable they will just use Facebook in the same way as before, sharing the photos in the same way and not really paying much attention to their timeline. This will entirely depend on how much time and effort they are prepared to put into Facebook.
All in all, there are numerous changes afoot, very exciting changes I hope you’ll all agree. Facebook has changed its face and on this occasion I think this will definitely help its users get more out of it.
As another little snippet, feel free to check out Punch’s Social Media Intelligence report on the new changes from Facebook.