Many changes have trickled in on Facebook over the past week, stirring up the large pot of 750 million users. A great deal of attention has been focused on these developments with more still to come. Facebookers are often violently apprehensive when the tides change and that’s when the social game of “Telephone” begins. What are the major (and real) Facebook changes and what do they mean?
While most of the recent changes are small ones that affect personal accounts, if you have a Facebook Page for your ecommerce store, advertise on Facebook or are thinking about it, you should be aware of these changes also:
- Timeline – The new personal profile which encourages users to put up content that predates their time on Facebook. An actual timeline on the right side of the page is displayed so that friends can quickly access the days, months and years of your life. The further back you go, the more content Facebook will hide from the main timeline.
- Ticker – On the right side of the screen, there is something called a “ticker.” This is a live feed of all the ongoing activity that also appears in users’ news feeds.
- News Feed Priority – Priority is now given friends over brands. “Top Stories” will be featured first followed by “Recent Stories” and listed in chronological order.
- Photo Display – Photos are larger for friends versus Pages. Although this may be altered by Facebook later, the current settings for the News Feed and photo display allow more visual attention to be awarded to relationships and friends rather than equal for marketing efforts presented by Pages.
- Universal Commenting – Previously, only fans (those who had “liked” the Page) could post comments on your Page’s Wall. Facebook has opened commenting to anyone who visits the Page. This means there is slightly less incentive to “like” a Page. It also means it’s easier for someone to leave negative feedback on your Page, so you may have to monitor your Page more closely and frequently.
- Friend Activity Tab – In the navigation section of the left sidebar of your Pages, Facebook is now displaying a “Friend Activity” link. By clicking this link, users can see comments, posts and likes made by their friends. This is great for high traffic Pages, as users will be able to see the activity most interesting to them.
- Likes – not published in news feeds. This includes liking posts on brand pages, friends’ walls, or the newsfeed. Pages liked within Facebook were also not showing up on newsfeeds. However, liking content outside of the Facebook platform, such as a news story on another site, is still displayed on news feeds, and content can still be shared
- Exceeded Characters – Users may use up to 5,000 characters in a post (this applies to Pages and Profiles).
- “Open Graph” – Developers can put together applications that encourage Facebookers to share even more information around a common experience; spending more time on Facebook. Users can also add apps that publish content to users’ Timelines automatically. Right now, apps ask users if they want to publish information to their wall before each post. Facebook will alter that to publishing stories with a single permission agreement. Some apps will let you digest news and media content right from Facebook and tell your friends what items you’re reading, watching, or listening. Users will be able to get news, watch movies, listen to music, book a trip, buy a product, and play games without ever having to actually leave Facebook.
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Love the changes? Is Facebook building an innovative platform with richer targeting, app development and future advertising opportunity? There is also talk of Facebook teaming up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business to launch a program that includes giving away $10 million in advertising credits to small businesses launching next month.
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