F8 is Facebook Developer’s Conference where changes and new solutions for the platform are in focus. People constantly speculate on what the next big thing on the platform will be. And this year, speculations on the changes have been in line with the directional motto of “Read. Watch. Listen”. From “Open Graph” last year, to “Socialize the Internet” this year, Facebook has sure come a long way! According to Facebook, we can expect to see a few robust changes to the platform.
After the F8 happens tomorrow, September 22, we all would know for sure what Facebook has in store for us. But so far, some crucial changes have already been implemented making way for more in the Conference. In the following, we will go through what this means for users and brands, both in relation to the changes that have already been implemented and in relation to the “assumed” changes.
What’s in it for users?
Easier and better access to content by Friend’s activity ticker: Facebook has announced that major changes are being done to promote the inflow of content into the platform and make it easier for the users to absorb it and share it further.
Read, Watch, and Listen will be reportedly integrated into Facebook’s current user interface in the form of clickable buttons, with a “Want” button soon to follow, as said by posts on TNW and TechCrunch.
It´s almost certain that Facebook is going to launch a music and media platform, basically where you can watch videos and listen to music (possible partnership with a company like Spotify). Your friends will be able to see what you are watching or listening to, from their home page and from here access the same content. As of this morning, this change has been implemented, see the image below.
News Feed: A change to how the news feed is organized has also been done. “Top stories” from when you last logged in re now featured in the top of the news feed (marked with a little blue triangle in the left corner). New/recent stories are featured below and the user needs to scroll about 1 1/2 page down to see recent news. When going through my own news feed, it became evident that no news from any Facebook pages where featured among the top stories, even though I “Like” somewhat 100+ pages. If it’s the future that brands can’t get featured in top stories through pages, it will become quite a challenge.
The EdgeRank algorithm is now standing its real test – will users feel that its serving them the right content or will they miss the latest news?
The following is from Facebook´s update about the News Feed.
What is in it for brands?
News Feed changes: As mentioned above – if brands can’t get featured in top stories, there will be a decrease in the value of a wall post made from brand’s – just how many users will scroll down to recent? But remember the design is probably not rolled all out yet, the above picture may not show everything.
Friend’s activity ticker:The real time “see what your friends are up to box” in the right side is very interesting. It seems to provide a prominent place for the interactions your friends have with brand pages, and when browsing through my own, it became clear that it was not only friends but also interactions from some of the pages I follow.
Friend Activity: This tab shows people how their friends are interacting with the brand on Facebook. In a more theoretical sense, it influences users to interact with the brand and alters their thoughts towards it.
Some of the more uncertain features….
Social Sharing: The introduction of these buttons makes it easier for users to follow, organise the content and also look up for, more if they wish. I believe that it has more in it for brands than for users. Now brands would be able to get better insights into user data and the kind of content they are looking at.
Social Gaming: Facebook plans to build on the success of its now-popular social gaming mechanic by incorporating a live-updating sidebar of friends’ content consumption activity. F8 rumours also include more robust planning for mobile platform products for Facebook.
The idea is to make users stick to the platform, get them to spend more time on it and make Facebook a part every activity they do. One of the ways to get the users to stick to the platform could be, as mentioned above, through the launch of a music and media platform. If users find everything they need on Facebook, they would naturally spend a lot of time on Facebook and maybe use it as a dashboard that is open all the time.
What is in it for Facebook?
Three key things! Get the users to stay longer! A more prominent platform for Facebook Credits! Get data, data, data and more data about the users!
What is on my personal watch list?
Personally, I am always looking forward to F8. It’s always exciting to get a glimpse of where Facebook is heading. I think Facebook is ready to put a real effort towards the one thing that can make it an even more powerful platform (if not yet the most powerful): creating a trust worthy economical system!
When you see a local artist using his Facebook page and ordinary wall posts to create auctions and sell a bunch of pictures, you know he is doing something that Facebook does not allow – but imagine if companies could start seriously selling products on the platform through an economical system that the user trusts! The future and true power for a platform like Facebook, lies in the trust of its users credit card, are Facebook ready? Are the users? I know companies in all sizes all over the world are!
We will be following F8 closely, so follow our blog for more updates. Later today we will go through the recent changes.
Also, here’s an interesting video which sums up all the changes, take a look and let us know your thoughts: