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Facebook Updates News Feed, Again

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Remember that one day, back in September, when the whole world was shaking their fists at Facebook? That was a fun day wasn’t it? We woke up to a Facebook we no longer recognized.

The most notable change was in our Facebook news feed. We could no longer choose between the “Top Stories” and “Most Recent” links. Facebook put them all together and decided to choose themselves what they thought you would find most interesting.

They’ve now tweaked the news feed again by allowing you to choose between Recent Stories or Highlighted Stories. They made the announcement about the update via their blog yesterday.

Now you have a new way of sorting your News Feed: most recent stories first.  You can also continue to view highlighted stories first, followed by recent stories, like what you see today.  If you don’t have the updates to News Feed yet, you can expect to see them over the coming weeks as the rollout continues.

Do you think bringing the recent stories option back will make some Facebookers happy?

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Facebook Changes Allow Brands to Reach More People

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Do you remember at the end of September when we all woke up to those many changes on Facebook? That was an interesting day to say the least.

From the “Hate the New Facebook News Feed” image that ended up plastering my feed, to all of the complaints from Facebook friends, it was clear people were not happy.

According to a new Facebook study by PageLever, people who use Facebook for fun might not be happy with the changes, but it appears brands should be.

The new Facebook set up is allowing brands to reach a larger audience. They studied more than 300 brand pages and found that the new layout increased fan interaction with brands.

Jeff Widman, co-founder of PageLever, said “Facebook is showing you to more people but less often per person. I would say it’s actually much better for brand pages now. As a marketer, I’d totally rather reach more people every single day, than the same people more often.”

Reaching people where they already are. This is a HUGE piece of the puzzle that brands are always trying to figure out and Facebook is where people already are.

It seems the “Ticker”, which a lot of FB users have a love/hate relationship with, has been a key component in brands reaching more people, as well as the “Top Stories” feature. The Ticker gets people to click more since it’s front and center, or front and right more accurately.

Here is some interesting data PageLever discovered:

In terms of other types of fan engagement beyond simple clicks to view items, the number of comments rose 5%, the number of “likes” on brand news items rose 15%, and the number of fan wall posts on brand pages rose a modest 3% since F8.

For those of you who run Facebook pages for brands, have you noticed an increase in fan interaction? Or what about fan interaction for your personal Facebook Pages?

Why You Should Stop Complaining About Facebook

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The Internet has been exploding over the last few days as Facebook announced (and already made in some cases) a ton of changes, most notably to profile pages. Most of what I’ve been hearing is complaining. It seems like every time Facebook makes changes, even minor ones, people get bent out of shape about it. Today, I’d like to encourage you to stoppit. Stop complaining about Facebook, because it doesn’t make sense. Here’s why:

Change Isn’t Always Bad

Have you actually tested out the new changes? There are always going to be things I would have done differently when it comes to how any platform operates, but now that I’ve tested it out, I actually understand why the changes were made and I’m not going to lie…they’re pretty awesome changes, for the most part. At least in my opinion. If you don’t like the changes, it’s okay to voice that opinion, but at least test it out before you complain. It’s always a good policy to understand what you’re so mad about, right? You can start by checking out Julie’s post which lists 10 places to learn about the new Facebook timeline, including how to preview your new timeline if you don’t want to wait until September 30. Don’t just complain based on what you’ve read. Use it yourself first.

Facebook is Optional

You don’t like Facebook? Don’t use it. No one is forcing anyone to use Facebook, yet every person I see complaining about Facebook is still a member of Facebook. In fact, most of the complaining I see is on Facebook. If you really don’t like using Facebook…stop using it. Move to Twitter or Google+ or stay connected with your friends the old-fashioned way – pick up the phone. I know lots of people who don’t use Facebook and they haven’t died. The only way we can truly tell Facebook that we disagree is by not using it anymore.

Facebook is Free

Facebook is a free service. You don’t own it, nor do you pay to use it. As users who have helped make it successful, I’m not saying that you have no right to voice your opinion if you don’t like something, because, after all, without us, Facebook wouldn’t make any money. However, Facebook is not your blog. The Facebook overlords are going to make the changes they think makes the most sense, and your best interests may not be in mind. Don’t make Facebook your home base, because you’ll never truly have control over your content there. If you want control, buy your own domain name and actually take ownership of your content rather than just complaining. Facebook is going to do what Facebook is going to do, and you can’t really stop it. On your own blog, you get to control everything.

Complaining is a Waste of Time

Complaining, at least the way most people are going about it, is a waste of time. It’s easy to point out what is wrong with something, but are you actually making suggestions on how to make things better? And, more importantly, are you voicing your opinions in a way that matters? If you just spout off a bunch of profanities as a Facebook status update, what good is it really going to do? Send an email to the Facebook team with your opinion. You can at least try to get your suggestions in front of people who really matter. Not that your roommate’s second grade best friend and former college tutor aren’t great…but like your other Facebook friends, they can’t do anything about your complaints. It’s really easy to be critical, but it’s not so easy to be helpful. If you’re going to be negative, try to be helpful as well.

It’s Just Facebook

At the end of the day…it’s just Facebook. I understand that a lot of people rely on Facebook to keep in touch with loved ones or to promote their blogs, but if Facebook disappeared tomorrow, I assure you, we would all survive. Every moment you spend complaining about Facebook is a moment you could be spending on things that are more important in life, like your family or building your business in ways where you actually control the content. The way I see it, life already throws a lot of crap our way that we have to handle. Why spend even more time on negativity? In other words…there are more important things in life than Facebook. Spend your time on those things.

The bottom line, the moral of the story, the thesis of this entire post, is this: I definitely want to hear people’s opinions on the new Facebook changes; I just want it to be productive. Don’t let useless complaining drown out the real conversation.

Top 10 Posts Educating You About the New Facebook Timeline

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I sat and watched almost the entire keynote for f8 yesterday, which is Facebook’s developer conference. I wanted to hear about these “Big Changes” that were coming to the popular social network. There were some hints that the Facebook we know and love (or hate) would be no more.

Facebook did not disappoint with their announcement and yes, it was huge. Just earlier this week, we woke up to about 5 changes on Facebook and now there are too many to count. In fact, I wouldn’t call these changes but instead a complete redesign. They introduced the new Facebook Timeline.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the Timeline “the story of your life”. He and the team wanted to create something that allowed you to tell the story of your life through pictures, status updates, likes and more. Almost like an online yearbook of sorts.

I signed up as a developer (which I’m not) and have been tinkering around with the new layout. As of today, I like it. Sure, there’s a learning curve involved (isn’t there with all changes in life), but they walk you through the changes and it didn’t take me long to figure out where everything was. It’s aesthetically pleasing and well organized. It was also fun to click through the years I’ve been on Facebook and see what I was up to in, let’s say, 2007. I made 70 friends and joined 20 groups that year. I also updated my status with “This is me writing on my wall” – profound, I know.

Is your head spinning yet with all of these changes and announcements? Well, let me help it spin just a bit more with these Top 10 posts educating you about the new Facebook Timeline:

1. How to Enable the New Facebook Timeline Now (Mashable)- Takes you step by step through the process of signing up as a developer and getting a head start on the new Timeline. The only people who will see it now, are those who have also signed up as a developer. Or, you can wait until September 30th and sign up with everyone else.

2. Tell Your Story with Timeline (Facebook’s blog) – Facebook walks you through the new design on their official blog.

3. Facebook Timeline Wrap-Up: Everything Today Was About Sharing Content (ReadWriteWeb) – A short and sweet wrap up of the F8 developer’s conference with links to other Facebook posts about the changes.

4. Facebook Changes – What The Average Everyday User Needs To Know (DainBinder.com) – He breaks is down and let’s you in on what you need to know about the new features and changes. From the lists, to the ticker and more.

5. New Facebook Features: A Reminder To Check Your Privacy Settings [HD] (Video from Mari Smith) – No, this isn’t a post per se, but a video from Mari. With all of the changes, she reminds up to check our Facebook Privacy Settings.

6. Facebook F8 – Here’s everything you need to know (TheNextWeb) – A lengthy and great post breaking down everything Mark Zuckerberg introduced at the conference. It also includes some pictures from the conference.

7. Here’s What Facebook Timeline Looks Like (TechCrunch) – This post includes some nice pictures of what the new Timeline looks like. For those of you who are more visual, looking through the pictures first and then reading all of the how-tos might help you out a little.

8. What is Facebook Timeline? (Only Your Whole Life) (Gizmodo) –  A walk through of what the Facebook Timeline is – “it dives deep into your past, but also makes your history dynamic”.

9. Facebook Launches Integrations With Spotify, Netlfix and More to Populate the Ticker with Playable Content (Inside Facebook) – A post telling you a little about the integrations Facebook has added such as Netflix (not for U.S. yet), Spotify and more.

10. The Future of Facebook: Out with profile pages, in with the Timeline (Y! Tech) – Breaks down the changes, as well as where to find the new features.

What are your initial thoughts on the new Facebook Timeline?

Five Facebook Changes You Woke Up to Today

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“I hate the new Facebook changes!” “Facebook, why are you so confusing now?” “Are the people at Facebook bored so they just decided to make some changes for the heck of it?” – Those are just a few of the comments I am seeing in regards to the Facebook changes that occurred overnight. And of course, there’s this picture floating around.

So far, the census seems to be that Facebook users don’t like the changes and they want their old Facebook back. Do you think it’s because people hate change or are the differences really that bothersome? We’ll get into that in a minute.

Let’s break it down into Five Facebook Changes You Woke Up to Today: (If I missed any changes you noticed, please let me know in the comments.)

1. Top Stories and Recent Stories are all in one place. You can no longer choose between the “Top Stories” and “Most Recent” links. Facebook now has them all in one place with Top Stories at the top. They decide  what they think will be interesting to you.

2. Top Stories have a blue mark on the upper left corner. What’s with the blue mark on the posts I am seeing in my Facebook News Feed you ask? This helps you easily spot the most interesting stories since you last checked Facebook. It’s their way of helping you not miss important news and updates from your friends.

3. It’s now easier to hide updates you don’t care about. Hover over a friend’s status update and you’ll see a little mark which opens up to a drop down box. Choose from activities such as mark as top story, hide story, report story and more.

4. Larger photos are now displayed in your feed. Photos are now larger and more prominent in your news feed.

5. A new feature called the Ticker has been added to the right hand corner. No matter where you are on Facebook, you’ll see a friend ticker on the top right of your screen. It shows you what your friends are doing and allows you to join them in real time. Click any ticker as it slides by and a window pops up for you to respond to them.

Why all of the changes? Mark Tonkelowitz, an engineering manager at Facebook, explains the changes and the reasoning behind it.

He says, “When you pick up a newspaper after not reading it for a week, the front page quickly clues you into the most interesting stories. In the past, News Feed hasn’t worked like that. Updates slide down in chronological order so it’s tough to zero in on what matters most. Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff.”

It seems some changes are geared towards those who don’t log on to Facebook on a regular basis.

“The first things you’ll see are top photos and statuses posted while you’ve been away. They’re marked with an easy-to-spot blue corner,” he says. “If you check Facebook more frequently, you’ll see the most recent stories first. Photos will also be bigger and easier to enjoy while you’re scrolling through.”

So tell us – do you think people just don’t like waking up to so many sudden changes on Facebook or are the complaints legit? What annoys you most about the changes? Sound off in the comments and tell us how you feel!

On a side note, some are saying if you change your Language settings to English (UK) you can have your old Facebook back. Have you tried it?

Facebook Revamps Their Friends List

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Possibly taking a cue from Google+ Circles, Facebook announced yesterday the improvements being brought to their Friends List. The lists have been there for several years they say, but they’ve taken into account how time-consuming organizing those lists are.

Here’s a look at the new Friends List in action.

Their new tool makes it easier than ever to group your Facebook friends into categories such as work, school, family and by city.

Three improvements Facebook listed on their blog include:

  • Smart lists – You’ll see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you–like your work, school, family and city.
  • Close Friends and Acquaintances lists – You can see your best friends’ photos and posts in one place, and see less from people you’re not as close to.
  • Better suggestions – You can add the right friends to your lists without a lot of effort.

Don’t like the idea of lists on Facebook? No problem. The feature is completely optional.

They have also implemented Suggestions, which will make it easier to add the right FB friends to the correct list. It looks like they’ve automated quite a bit and have created a simple feature to organize your friends, so you can share with the right people.

The Improved Friends List will roll out to everyone this week and to mobile over the coming weeks.

What do you think of the new Friends List? Will you implement it and use it on your Facebook account?

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