23 September 2011 | Team Tamar

Facebook shake up social media… again. We have the details

Facebook’s F8 conference is a big date in the social media calendar, with all eyes on the networking giant as it reveals upcoming changes to its platform. This year Zuckerberg & Co came out all guns blazing, shaking up not just functionality, but why we use Facebook at all.

The first innovation to be introduced was the Timeline – a complete revamp of the Facebook profile which is essentially a visual representation of your entire life. Starting with when you were born and up until the current day, it is a ‘virtual scrapbook’ which aims to enable users to share any content that’s ever been put onto Facebook. Taking its influence from the artistic idea behind infographics, Facebook wants to make sharing information beautiful, concise and unique to each individual. I assume this is the excuse behind the ‘cover picture’, which although nice to look at isn’t replacing the profile picture and therefore seems a little pointless (in my opinion!)

An example of how new profiles will look, after September 30th when they roll-out

The next revelations were the Open Graph – a new class of apps that add to communication and games platforms Facebook already provides with media and lifestyle, and Gestures – the new ‘verbs’ building on the iconic ‘Like’ button. The apps don’t leave any aspect of social networking unturned, with integration with music players, film watching and news just to get us started. This for me is the epitome of Facebook flexing its muscles. It’s enveloped the niche social media sites that may have attracted some focus away from it and instead provided apps that can be utilised through Facebook, essentially eliminating any need to visit any other site.

With the apps you will be able to use a variety of Gestures that go beyond ‘liking’: you can ‘watch’ a film with the Netflix app, ‘read’ a book with the Goodreads app, or ‘listen’ to a song with the Spotify app. All of this will appear in the Ticker feed (now you understand why that seemingly pointless box has appeared in the right hand side of your home page!) providing real time updates of activities that would otherwise clog up your news feed. From here you can all join in with your friends activities, for example if you see a song your friend is listening to, you can click on it and listen too through Spotify.

With the Twitter-esque Timeline, the music -sharing of MySpace and the additions of numerous third party applications, Facebook is continuing to assert itself as the ultimate authority in social media by assimilating and integrating its rivals, with its ever loyal fan base unaware of the dominance it really has over their web usage.

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Team Tamar