New Facebook profile updates – What you need to know


Just when you were getting used to the last round of Facebook profile updates, the social giant went and mixed things up on you again.  If you are like many of the 750 million users just checking out the new profiles you are most likely feeling a little confused, cluttered and possibly a bit annoyed. I must say the first day comments have not portrayed the new changes overly “likeable.” However, I hope you can take a a few moments to review the Facebook profile updates in this quick guide and it maybe will help you be a little less resistant to the changes.

Before we get started, I thought you might like to see a short explanation (under 2 minutes) of the changes straight from Facebook:

 
Outlined below are the six biggest changes Facebook recently released.  I have attempted to give you a little more perspective on the reasons, benefits and potential problems associated with the changes.  According to Facebook, the changes were designed “to help you see more about what you care about on Facebook and less of what you don’t.”

News feed

The new Facebook news feed has been designed to feel more like your own personal newspaper. Just like in a regular newspaper, the most interesting stories are always at the top. In the event you have been away from Facebook for a while, the first posts you will most likely see are top photos and status updates posted while you were gone. These new top stories/posts will be marked with blue corner.

If you are curious how Facebook determines what is a “top story,” they base the decision of the relationship you have to the person who posted, how many comments/likes the post has received, the type of story it is and when it was posted.  If you have a top story you don’t feel is really of interest to you, you can easily remove it from the top stories section by hovering over the right side of the update and click “Unmark as top story.” I know these news feed changes may seem awkward at first but once you spend some time using the new feed, you will hopefully see that you do have much more control over what you see and what you don’t see.

For a more complete understanding of how your news feed has changed, I recommend you check out the Facebook Help Center.

Ticker

The ticker seems to be by far the most hated new feature but I haven’t turned into a hater just yet. While I agree it can be more than a little distracting, I can also see that it makes it easier to jump into real-time conversations with my friends and helps me notice a lot of information and interactions I would have otherwise missed.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, the ticker appears on the top right side of the news feed, and it features the most recent activity from a user’s friends. For example, the ticker might display something like, “ Julie Smith just commented on Carol Jones status.” When you click on a user’s name in the ticker, a box expands to display more information about that specific post and easily allows you to jump in on the conversation.

The most annoying part of the ticker is that as you scroll up and down your newsfeed, the ticker moves with you, so that it is always with you on the screen. I know many Facebook users have said they just want the ticker to go away. Unfortunately, there isn’t an official Facebook option to remove the ticker (just yet) however if you use Google Chrome there is super easy Facebook Ticker Removal Chrome Extension you can install that removes it in a snap.

Subscribe Button

I personally think the subscribe button is pretty cool. Until now it wasn’t a possible to control what you wanted to see from a particular friend’s status stream. Now using the subscribe button you can set what you want to receive from each friend. You can set it to just see photos from one friend and maybe see nothing at all from another friend.

Another cool feature of the subscribe button is that you can subscribe to the public feed of people you admire or find interesting such as public figures, industry experts, celebrities and more about without having to request a friendship. Even better if you sometimes use your own personal profile to broadcast non-personal messages about your business or upcoming events now you can reach more people via your subscriptions without having to friend people who really are not your friends. Again, when subscribing to a Facebook personal profile you will only receive their “public” updates.

You can learn more about the Facebook Subscribe Button here.

Profile

The top right corner links we had all finally become accustomed to are now quite different. The “profile” link has completely disappeared and you now have a small thumbnail and the name of the page or account you are logged in as. If you manage multiple pages, this change definitely makes it easier to know what page your currently operating under. The “Account” link has been replaced with a down arrow that takes you to all of your account settings including privacy.

Friend Button and Smart Lists

Now when you friend someone you have the option to designate them as a “close friend” or “acquaintance.” Don’t worry, they are not notified as to which classification you choose. The close friend option automatically sets their “subscription” to “All Posts” and acquaintances are set as  “Only Important.” Also, the number of notifications have been cut down and you will now only receive notifications when a “close friend” makes an update.

In an effort to help you curate your new smart lists, Facebook automatically gets you started with your smart lists based on your profile info and how that matches with what you have in common with friends such as school, work, family, city and so on. You can also create as many other friend list as you like. For instance, I have my friends categorized into numerous groups based on where I know them from (college, high school, previous employment and cities where I lived, current city, etc)

Other recent changes you may have missed

Here is quick list of a few other recent Facebook changes or updates I also thought important to bring to your attention.

  • You know longer need to obtain 25 “likes” in order to get a custom Facebook username for your business page.
  • Facebook has decided to reduce the number of notifications sent to your email. If you can desire, you can change the frequency of your notifications back to the way it was before in your  Notifications Settings.
  • You can now see who has “shared” your posted links.
  • Wishing friend’s happy birthday is even easier than ever. Now you don’t even have to leave your home page to send your birthday greetings. Just click on the birthday link in the top right corner and wish away!

After trying out all the new updates, I’m interested in hearing what you think about them. Please let me know in the comments below what is your favorite change and what is your least favorite change. Or by all means let me know if you have any questions. If you are truly unhappy with how the updates will affect your Facebook user experience, you can submit your Facebook complaints here.

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Leann

    Great article, Shirley! Very informative summary for those of us who have little time to research the answers to these very questions.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Leann, glad it helped. Of course as soon as this was written Facebook announced that the profile is changing even more dramatically. Check out the future of the Facebook profile called Timeline here: http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline