About 30 per cent of the columns I write for Wired revolve around social networking and largely to the king of that realm, Facebook. It seems Facebook rolls out new features frequently, but every time something new is added, or something we liked is taken away, the Internet moans and groans. Change is never wanted. Personally, to a certain extent I believe Mark Zuckerberg needs to learn the phrase, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” This past week, a completely new way to use Facebook has been rolled out, so I want to tell you everything about it: the tricks to make it work better, how it works and what I like and don’t like about it.
FACEBOOK has officially hit 800 million users and most of them check Facebook multiple times weekly. Facebook also reached a record 500 million people using Facebook in one day. They must have huge server capacity. However, I have found since the new release was launched, the response time has been slower. Perhaps more users are exploring the new features. Well, here are the highlights.
THE timeline has changed quite drastically. Instead of the old timeline where you saw the top stories and then you clicked a button to see the new updates, you are now presented with a scrapbook of your life essentially. The timeline now is a stream of photos of you, places you’ve visited in the world, apps you’ve used and so forth. The new Facebook encourages you to post more things about your past. The further back you view the timeline, the more information you see. You can customize this by enlarging a picture or viewing a status. The timeline is in beta right now but it will be most definitely the model in the future.
BACK in the good old days, all you could do was ‘like’ a status. With the new Facebook, they launched something called Facebook Gestures. This essentially allows you to make any verb into a button. REALLY weird.
REMEMBER when you wanted to play a Facebook game or use an application? You had to give the company permission to do basically whatever they wanted to your profile and for the most part you accepted it anyway? Well, instead of having to accept that permission document every time, you just have to click ‘Accept’ once and they can use your information, make statuses for you and use your photos for whatever they want. Cool right? Not really. When you’re dealing with Facebook, make sure you read what you are signing up for. You might be granting them permission to access to your email, phone numbers, for some people, even addresses. Make sure you’re not signing an agreement that allows a company to use your personal information.
Lightweight info GONE!
STATUS updates, pictures of hot girls that you like and relationship statuses are things that I want to see on Facebook. You achieving a new high score on Mafia Wars or seeing my Gramma’s farm expanding on Farm Ville aren’t the best updates to be filling up my timeline. All that information is now going to be in the ticker and all the important stuff on your timeline will show up. So in fact, Facebook is giving you the things you really want to see.
TV, movies, music and news
STARTING now, thanks to a whack of newly acquired partnerships with Facebook, you can use popular services like Hulu, Spotify or read Yahoo news all within Facebook. The ticker will tell you what your friends are watching/reading.
My opinion of the
FOR the most part I enjoy all the new features Facebook provides. The only thing I’m not so fond of is how the timeline works. It seems to function very awkwardly and the way it displays information to me is also awkward. But other than that, congrats Facebook, you’re on the right path!
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