Facebook users are going to get a surprise tomorrow; the social networking site that they love so much is trying to make them love it even more. On average we each spend 15 minutes every day using Facebook, creating three new pieces of content every day on the site. But that’s not enough for the Zuckerberg clan. They want more of our time. The changes which Facebook will give details on at its developer conference tomorrow are all about trying to get us to spend even more time on the site – just when many people are worrying that they are using the service for long enough already.
So what do they have planned?
Firstly, they have already introduced the Google +1 “killer”; it didn’t take them long. The apparent beauty of Google’s offering is “circles” where you can share information only with specific groups of people, rather than with all of your friends at once. Now, Facebook has “Smart Lists” which does exactly the same. Result? You can now do in Facebook what Google +1 has as its only competitive advantage. Bye bye Google +1.
But that’s not all that is going on at Facebook. The news feed has changed as well. Essentially the “top news” and the “most recent” lists are being combined, allowing you to control which items appear more easily. The idea is that you will always see stuff that’s important to you, rather than having to scroll around for it or switch between views.
Then, there is the new “subscribe” button, which works together with the new style news feed allowing you decide which kinds of news items from each individual you want to receive.
On the top right of your Facebook page, you’ll also soon see a “ticker” – scrolling, instant updates as to what your friends are doing right now, real time.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6JrZdF4IPA[/youtube]
As if this were not enough, Facebook is soon to include music – you’ll be able to listen to what your friends are listening to “right now” and you’ll be able to link to services such as Spotify through Facebook.
And – there’s more – you’ll soon be able to connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Other, more subtle, changes are also taking place – including the navigation bar staying in place and not scrolling off the screen when you move down a page.
But the real issue for your business is are you ready? With greater control on what appears on the home page of a user and with attention being grabbed by a ticker and music, businesses on Facebook are going to have to fight even harder for those eyeballs. It certainly doesn’t mean the end for business pages – but it does show the direction that Facebook is taking us in; greater interaction with individuals. If your business is not prepared for that, then you will not survive in the new Facebook – coming your way this week.
- Facebook Revamps News Feed So You Never Miss Your Friends’ Updates [PICS] (mashable.com)
- Facebook Redesigns News Feed, Makes Ticker Official (allfacebook.com)
- Facebook Tests Friend Filters to Challenge Google+ Circles (hubspot.com)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+