The Ever-Changing Faces of Facebook


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Evolution of the number of Facebook users. Dat...
Evolution of the number of Facebook users.
Data comes from Facebook's press room: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?timeline.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Hector Cisneros

More than a billion subscribers use Facebook. It is the most widely used social network in the world. Facebook tells us that they are working hard to improve the user experience. They also say that they are working to provide a business friendly advertising medium. Facebook founder makes new promises every year about upgrades and added features. In fact, they add new features so often that it makes me wonder why they feel they need this constant tweaking. They are currently twice as big as their nearest competitor.

Well here are a few questions I want to ask Facebook subscribers. Do you find yourself looking for that one feature you knew was there, but now it seems like it has vanished? Do the constant changes and add-ons frustrate you?  Does Facebook’s constant tinkering tick you off? If so, then this article is for you. We will explore the many ever-changing faces of Face Book and show you where to find help and where things have been moved. This article will help you make heads or tails of the ever-changing faces of Facebook.

Since its inception in 2004, Facebook has been at the nexus of social media. Its meteoric rise from unknown social network to the industry-leading juggernaut in 2013 has been awe-inspiring. Today Facebook has more than a billion subscribers, along with hoards of Fans and a number of detractors who say Facebook is slipping. Every year Facebook has made functional and cosmetic changes to its social network. Some of these changes have been met with applause and others with disdain.

Facebook logo
Facebook logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What’s amazing to me is that Facebook and other software companies ignore a very important fact. Most people in the world don’t like change. Studies have shown that only about 25% of all software users look forward to upgrades and changes. About 50 percent don’t like change but will tolerate it if there are perceivable benefits. And then there’s the remaining 25 percent that just hate change. That means that 75 percent of all users don’t want rapid changes yet rapid changes are the norm in the software industry today. Let’s cover some of the newest changes going on at Facebook

Time Line - Fecebook - Calbos 1
Time Line - Fecebook - Calbos 1 (Photo credit: Interatividade Já)
The new Timeline allows for a bigger picture, videos and it organizes your news feed in a way that allows your tabs to display information by category. The default news feed page lists your post on the right side. The left side contains information about you, followed by sections containing your friends, photos and your likes for music, movies, TV show, books etc… Clicking on the tab for any of these items moves them to center stage for you or your friends to see.

Facebook Graph Search
Facebook Graph Search (Photo credit: Frank Hamm)
Facebook’s new Graph Search will allow you to search and find others that have similar interest to you. It will allow you to use simple phrases like “find photos taken by friends in Key  West” or “show me people who like windsurfing”. This feature is not yet available to all users. There is a waiting list you can get on to try it out, before its final released. I have added myself to the list because I believe this could be a significant tool that subscribers will love.

Facebook adds a dedicated music tab. The music tab was recently added along with tabs for movies, TV shows, Books, likes, Notes and Places. This information was available in your profile before but Facebook decided that creating tabs for each item type makes for better organization similar to the way a newspaper is organized into sections.

Facebook Chat Head function allows you to enter into a chat session regardless of what app you in on a smartphone (that has the Facebook Home App on it). Its part of the new Facebook Phone/Home app recently released. You can chat with anyone thats online in Facebook. This is not so much a new function as it is a function that is enhanced via the mobile app. It has been refined over the last year or so and has now made it to the Smartphone. If you love to chat with your friends you will love the convenience of chatting with them regardless of what you're doing on your phone. Now a chat head can sit on top of any app you are using.

Molly - Shallow
Molly - Shallow (Photo credit: Sean Molin Photography)
Facebook’s confusing Edge Rank algorithm. This algorithm determines if a subscriber sees your ad based on a myriad of criteria. For example, a post can appear in a subscriber’s timeline based on its type (photo, video or text), how long the post has been displayed, if you recently interacted with that subscriber, how popular it is (via likes and comments) and so on. It’s easy to see that it would be hard to predict how often subscriber would see your advertising. This is also borne out by reports that ad results have been poor.

The Facebook cell phone. Facebook recently teamed up with HTC to produce an Android phone with a home page Facebook app as the standard interface. Initial sales have been a little slow but I am sure that for the Facebook addicted masses, this cell phone will fit right in.

HeatMap of Facebook homepage 15sec
HeatMap of Facebook homepage 15sec
(Photo credit: K2_UX)
Facebook Home for Android. If you don’t want to buy a Facebook cell phone, you can convert your current Android Smartphone to a Facebook phone by just downloading the Homepage Facebook app. As of this week, over 500,000 Facebook Home Page apps have been downloaded from Google play.

This article is too short to provide comprehensive information for those who want lots of detail. Here is my short list of current articles that provide a good overview of Facebook’s new features. These should satisfy any avid user’s needs. 

Here are My Top Seven Articles on Facebook.

The Beginner’s Guide to Facebook
Facebook Timeline: The Complete Guidehttp://mashable.com/2011/12/07/facebook-timeline-guide/10 Facebook Tips for Power Usershttp://mashable.com/2012/05/15/facebook-tips-power-users/Facebook Home: Everything You Need to Knowhttp://mashable.com/2013/04/04/facebook-home-everything-you-need-to-know/5 Tips to Maximize Your Brand's Facebook Reachhttp://mashable.com/2012/05/24/facebook-reach/Facebook Timeline: 10 Simple Tips and Trickshttp://mashable.com/2011/10/14/facebook-timeline-tips-tricks/How to Fill Out Facebook Timeline Without Annoying Your Friendshttp://mashable.com/2012/01/30/facebook-timeline-annoy-friends/

Facebook continues to grow despite the predictions by detractors that they are slipping. Facebook just built a new $1.5 billion data center in Iowa. This means that they are serious about being in control of their own infrastructure and quality control. There have been some recent studies that show small businesses moving their advertising from Facebook to LinkedIn, Pintrest and Twitter. Small businesses have shown their frustration with the new and confusing Edge Rank algorithm, which has produced poor results for small businesses. On the other hand Facebook has shown tremendous resiliency even in the face of its constant tinkering with its interface and functions. There is no doubt that adding features and improving function is a worthwhile endeavor. I for one vote for fewer upgrades and slower changes. Once a year is enough.

In this article, I have discussed several of the newest Facebook features and innovations. I have discussed subscriber frustration associated with constant changes implemented by Facebook. I also have mentioned the migration of many small business owners to other social networks like LinkedIn and Pintrest, caused by the confusion and poor results of Facebook’s new Edge Rank algorithm. In addition, I have provided a short list of articles worth reading if you are a Facebook aficionado in need of comprehensive detail. If you enjoyed this article pass it on to a friend, if you have a different opinion add that in the comment section of this article. I hope to share other articles with you in the near future. 

That's my opinion; I look forward towards reading yours. 



Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”


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1 comment:

  1. It's hard to keep up with all the changes on Facebook. No sooner do you have a handle on a few features when they throw in another monkey wrench. Their techies need to get a life.

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