Brace yourselves, social-media butterflies: The “new” Facebook is about to get even newer.
At Thursday’s (September 22) f8 conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed tons of new features and changes aimed at making the social network even more engaging. But who (besides us) had the time to watch the almost two-hour live stream of the conference’s keynote address? (Ironically, most people were probably busy liking pictures of pandas on Facebook.) So here is a breakdown of some of the major changes coming to Facebook and what they’ll mean for you:
Zuckerberg could hardly contain his giddy laughter while showing us his own Timeline, Facebook’s newest profile feature, complete with photos of his dog and some exotic dishes he’s eaten. His taglines for the feature are: All Your Stories, All Your Apps, Express Who You Are. The new feature will grant something many angry users have been demanding: control. Zuckerberg said users will decide “what you show, how you display it and who can see it” on their Timeline. You will be able to add specific photos, links, check-ins, likes and more that represent your interests and passions, making it a lot like scrapbooking online. Everyone will have a Timeline, which will look sparse at first, so more private people will probably keep it bare while others can fill it up with their very latest music interests, relationships, etc. But if you thought people were revealing too much information before, get ready for more verbs! Rather than being able to just “like” things, now you can actually “do” them. Statuses will be active, i.e. Jack is hiking Mount Washington, Sara is reading “Twilight: Breaking Dawn,” Kara is screaming at her computer; well, it’s unclear how specific the verbs will get.
Getting Ticked Off
Many users were angry with Wednesday’s redesign and specifically questioned the right-hand corner feed (“Why is there a feed inside my feed?”). But Zuckerberg explained that the Ticker is used to express “lightweight activity,” such as friends liking things or commenting on a photo. The goal is for the News Feed to contain more interesting items like status updates, photos and videos. If you use a lot of apps or games, most of your activity, unless you choose otherwise, will end up in your Ticker but not in the News Feed of your friends, so you can play around on Facebook as much as you want without annoying your buddies.
Changing the Music Industry
Facebook has been working with a variety of music applications like Turntable.fm and IHeartRadio to seamlessly integrate their applications into Facebook and remedy outstanding issues using their Open Graph protocol. Huh? Basically, Facebook is making it a lot easier for apps like Spotify to work on your profile page, and they will be more interactive. You can now easily see what your friends are listening to and listen to it with them, creating a space where friends can connect and share music freely. Zuckerberg wants to tap into the feeling of “knowing you helped a friend discover something new, that they like your taste in music.” The more music people listen to and the wider the variety, the more likely people are to buy music so artists can be fairly compensated, explained Spotify CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek. With Spotify already boasting 400 million user playlists, they’re well on their way to accomplishing Ek’s goal to “light up the world with music.”
Watch With Friends
Facebook is also aiming to make the way you watch TV and movies sharable and interactive. On the newest new version of the network, interesting patterns will be highlighted and immediately accessible. So if you see that seven of your friends are watching “Glee” on Hulu, you can click and watch right along with them.