Friday, 23 September 2011

Yes! Something has most definitely changed on facebook

Last week I asked the question, "has something just changed on facebook?" after I'd noticed a little difference. Then, within 24 hours of me publishing the post, facebook had a major overhaul of the newsfeed and a whole load of other features and that little difference was blown out of the water.

At which point it was more what hasn't changed, than what has. As discussed in the previous article, little changes are always happening on facebook, but every now and again there's a seismic shift, where it seems like everything changes. This was one of those times, just after I'd been on about it.

There's been the usual outpouring of dismay from users, who always have a good complain when they have to get used to something new. It will be interesting to see if any of these jump ship to Google+, since if they're having to learn new features anyway, they may as well try a new platform while they're at it.

Unsurprisingly, there's also been a flurry of activity from Social Media experts, all competing to give their take on the changes and what they mean for Social Media marketing. Personally, I'd rather let them bed in for a little while, get a feel for them and see how they effect user behavior, before I offer comment.

... except on changes to 'share'. This ubiquitous link on facebook has been the main subject in my recent articles and last week I stated that we'd look at how best to encourage use of 'share' in this article.

I had actually said the same in the previous week, but then facebook made a little change to 'share' which I had to address first. Now they've made this massive update, which includes aspects of 'share' and I'm in the same boat.

It just goes to show that when marketing on facebook or other Social Media platforms, you really do need to keep your eyes and ears open. What worked yesterday might not today, and if you can see those changes coming, you're all the better prepared.

So what's changed with 'share'?

The most notable is a great help in measurement and actually fills a hole that I identified a couple of week ago. Though the number of 'likes' and 'comments' was easy to see on a page, the number of 'shares' wasn't displayed anywhere. It was simply impossible to discern how many times content had been shared. but now the umber of shares is displayed with each post, in the same way as the number of 'likes'.

There also seems to be a difference in which content can be shared. Last week I said how 'share' was new to text only page status updates and now it seems to be gone from some personal profile posts in the newsfeed and on pages... but not all of them.

Hmm, why is this? What's the pattern? Is it to do with individual's privacy settings?

I'm not sure yet, but I'll look into it and get back top you.

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