If you are like me, checking facebook is likely part of your morning routine. When I woke up this morning, though, my news feed was filled with angry and sarcastic comments aimed at facebook.
Last week Facebook added the new subscribe button, to which few users complained. However, this weeks changes have resulted in quite an uproar.
This isn’t the first time facebook’s updates have been met with hostility. If past experience has taught me anything, we’ll likely see several protest groups form, rapidly expand, and then dwindle into obscurity as people grow used to the new format. So, to save time, rather than protesting, lets start with learning what these new features mean.
Borrowing from other popular social networks, Facebook attempted to help users more easily find the information they are most interested in. They made three fundamental updates: smart lists, top stories in the newsfeed, and the Ticker.
1. Smart Lists
Smart lists most strongly resemble Google+’s circles. Like circles, smart lists allow you to categorize your friends into groups such as close friends, family, schools, work places, and location.
Smart lists are one way Facebook is trying to make it easier for you to find interesting information more quickly. Rather than lumping all of your friends updates into one newsfeed, smart lists allow you to quickly see just what specific groups of people are talking about.
Whereas smart lists resemble Google Plus, Facebook’s ticker seems to draw upon Twitter. If your screen is expanded wide enough, the ticker will appear on the top right corner of your screen. Like Twitter, ticker gives you real time updates on what all of your friends are doing.
Ticker appears to me as the new feature fans may find most upsetting. As the Facebook blog says
Ticker shows you the same stuff you were already seeing on Facebook, but it brings your conversations to life by displaying updates instantaneously. Now when a friend comments, asks a question or shares something like a check in, you’ll be able to join the conversation right away. Click on anything in ticker to see the full story and chime in – without losing your place.
Can you say “Stalkerbook?”
3. Top Stories
Finally, Facebook has made the general newsfeed more relevant by helping you For those of you who check facebook every five minutes, this feature will likely be of little use to you. However, those who check facebook less frequently may find this feature especially helpful.
The newsfeed had always favored certain posts over others based on factors such as affinity, weight, and recency. This algorithm, however, did not take into account how recently you had viewed the newsfeed.
Top stories filters through your newsfeed to find the most interesting updates since you last checked your newsfeed. As the Facebook blog describes it,
Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top. If you haven’t visited Facebook for a while, 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.
Love it or hate it, these new features will likely be here for a while. How are you responding?