Big changes are already starting to take place on Facebook which I will talk about shortly. Firstly, it seems that over the weekend there has been rumours spreading about Facebook charging for their service. This has come at a time people are conjuring-up thoughts of how the changes will affect them. Here’s one of the messages you may have received:
“IT IS OFFICIAL. IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING. DUE TO THE PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON, IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY”
This is in no way true. FB have added on their Homepage – “Sign up, It’s free, and always will be” In case you’re wondering how they make their money – it mainly comes from advertising, with 800,000,000 FB users across the globe, the demographic information that’s available to advertisers is huge. 89% of FB’s profits come from advertising this year and according to emarketer are expected to reach $3.8billion.
CHANGES TO FACEBOOK 2011
Thursday 22nd September saw the 2011 F8 developer conference in San Francisco. There were huge changes announced that will completely change the way users socialise online. The largest change comes in the way that the FB profile will be used. Your profile will become a timeline of information that can date right back from childhood (if you want it to). So as you scroll down the page you are going further back in history. It’s much more like having your own webpage rather than an FB profile. The timeline will be controlled by a new wave of apps. I think it looks great. Mark Zuckerberg explains the concepts in this video of the day:
As mentioned, the timeline will consist of a series of Apps, they will enable users to connect to anything, anywhere. With the “like” button changing to a verb based system so instead of just being able to like things they can share with words such as read, cook, listen etc etc. The other change is Ticker which is a new lightweight news feed. So smaller more general comments can be published in the Ticker Box.
The next most significant changes will be in the way we listen to and share Media such as music, TV, videos and will enable users to share music through other online sites such as Spotify and radio stations or say Sound Cloud, and will enable friends to view what you are listening to. FB are calling this Realtime Serendipity. The aim of this is that we will use FB as a platform to listen and download music by applying other sites.
For Advertising this means that Facebook will collect even more data than they currently hold due to users filling in their timelines historically and currently. Businesses who advertise should on average see better results from their targeted FB campaigns. With the incentive growing for users to have FB open on their computer continuously, this will also enable adverts to be viewed more frequently.
For those personal userss who are unsure about the changes for privacy reasons – there are still privacy settings and are we too far down the FB line for these issues to affect Facebook? For me who has moved away from friends in the last year where music was a significant part of my social culture, listening what friends are currently playing will help to keep me up-to-date on all the things I’m missing! I think we’ll look back and wonder how so little info on our profiles kept us entertained for all those hours.
There are prominant pros and cons and I predict Google + will pick-up some of FB’s more reluctant members (at first at least). So I will be keeping a close eye on how the social networks change and what is next for businesses…