Facebook isn’t afraid of change. The social networking giant, best known as the free service that allows you to voyeuristically check up on your friends, has opened a new can of worms.
Amidst the recent uproar in its most recent platform changes, there are more than a few particularly interesting morsels of change that clearly point to how the social network is evolving beyond just Facebook.
When it comes to your social graph, Facebook will continue to help you build and connect your digital life. You’ll also get what it’s calling “Timeline” – a chronological recount of all your activity and interactions that are connected to the Facebook Open Graph. But first, to quickly recap, Facebook launched three big changes you might have already noticed:
Revamped Friend Lists – To let you share content with friends, as you might define them. So, should you assign them to a “Close Friends List”, Facebook thinks these “best friends” should show up more in News Feed. Also, in a move that acts like a Google+ Circle, you can better define who gets shared certain content.
Real-time News Ticker – To let you have real-time conversations with your friends, so you know exactly when they start listening to that song you recommended last week.
Subscribe Button – To let you populate your News Feed with people you think most highly of. In other words, people like us.
The Real-Time News Ticker is that up-to-the-moment firehose of activity that’ll keep you riveted to your home page view. On that newly-redesigned home page, you’re not seeing the same feed of general activity from friends and pages you’ve “liked” over time, instead you’re presented with Top News.
In addition to these changes, we’ve quickly realized they have some pretty significant implications for brands that are active on the Facebook platform. Since Facebook is letting users add control (at the top right of each story), brands will have to create much more engaging content to earn the right of continuous exposure. Now users can check to unmark a top story, so if that brand isn’t interesting, updates risk getting lower visibility.
If brands have a story to tell, Facebook has given them the opportunity to get active, interact and produce content. With Open Graph, Facebook has enabled an open platform for brands to create sharing actions that are neatly integrated into the way Facebook’s site operates.
You don’t have to just “like” something — now you can “verb” any “noun.” So, to your Facebook friends, with a single click, you can be “reading” this “blog.” Or, “listening” to this “podcast.” Facebook’s partners and developers can turn any verb into a button, distinctly offering brands the ability to further integrate their product or service into their customers and their customers’ friends’ lives.
These changes by Mark Zuckerburg and he his team may yet prove that active and attentive brands can achieve the return on investment they’ve been truly looking for. By knowing exactly what their audiences are engaging with online, brands can concentrate and target their advertising more effectively, based on their content media preferences. Access to this information is a powerful advantage.
In the world of social media, change is a constant. Now, more than ever, branded media is being made more social. Is your brand prepared?