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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?

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?

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