Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Stream Is What Is Happening

Facebook, Inc.Image via Wikipedia

Facebook held a two-hour press conference today where they announced further updates to the site design and direction of the social network. The attending press weren't briefed on the agenda but it was widely rumoured that updates to the Facebook Pages were to be unveiled. [via TechCrunch Liveblogging] Mark Zuckerberg took the stage and began by complimenting Twitter and MySpace (what about Friendfeed) for what they’ve accomplished.
Twitter connects with people quickly. Myspace has done really with in terms of bands having done well.. we admire what they’re doing...
With the Profile redesign last year apparently being the first step Mark then introduced Chris Cox, the Director of Product Development. Chris detailed the evolution of making sharing information more efficient and to give people more control.
We come from a world where we were very focused on privacy, tight knit groups of people we call friends. Where we’re going, there are lots of different needs, and that’s what we’re working on today
Following discussion on the way that Facebook thinks about how sharing works came the announcements. Firstly Pages and Profiles are now the same thing and you can now distribute your content to more people who aren't your friends -
Starting today, we are announcing new profiles for public figures and organizations. Once called Pages, these new profiles will now begin looking and functioning just like user profiles. Just as you connect with friends on Facebook, you can now connect and communicate with celebrities, musicians, politicians and organizations. These folks will now be able to share status updates, videos, photos or anything else they want, in the same way your friends can already. You'll be able to keep up with all of their activity in your News Feed. This means that you can find out that Oprah is reading a book backstage before a show, CNN posted a breaking story or U2 is working on a new song, just as you would see that your friend uploaded new photos from her trip to Europe. ~ Mark Zuckerberg [Source]
The other announcement was a redesign to the Homepages which updates the feed and introduces both a filtering feature as well as a sidebar that highlights the most popular imports (Friendfeed 'Best of...') being discussed -
We're also going to make some changes to the home page. The new home page will let you see everything that's shared by your friends and connections as it happens. It will also provide you more control by letting you choose exactly who you see among the people and things you are connected to. You can decide you no longer want to get updates from your old friend from high school who you rarely talk to, or you can filter the stream to only see updates about your family members. And now, if you want, you can read what President Obama is saying on the same page as your best friend. You can find out what it is your mother, your high school classmate or President Obama are doing, thinking and sharing right now just by logging into Facebook. ~ Mark Zuckerberg [Source]

One highlight of the new homepages is a new 'publisher' feature which looks almost exactly like a similar feature on FriendFeed. Users can now easily post updates, notes, photos, and videos right from their homepage without having to go to the specific application first. In addition, users will now be able to easily filter their streams by specific friends, the type of relationship they have with people (groups), or by the application that generated the update. ~ Frederic Lardinois [Source]
The Homepage redesign is scheduled for March 11th, check out the home page tour to see the new design. With Facebook Pages fans are still seeing the old version of your Page. So you can take advantage of this opportunity to edit your Page before it gets automatically republished.

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