We’ve been watching closely as Facebook has been making updates over the last year. It seems that Zuckerberg and his team have been throwing ideas around to try and boost the brand image and keep the buzz going around the world’s largest social networking channel for some time. There have been many updates, redesigns and new features over the last few months and we’re expecting a new update announcement tomorrow.
Have you heard about the recent redesign of the Newsfeed, introduction of Facebook Home for Android mobiles and the upcoming Facebook Gift which lets users send physical gifts to friends? If not you can read about them on a separate blog post I did.
In a surprisingly old-school approach Facebook have sent invitations to the media by snail mail to announce their latest launch event for a new product this week. Journalists received a letter which read,
“A small team has been working on a big idea. Join us for coffee and to learn about a new product.”
I asked some of the Trackpal Team for their predictions
It think it would be great to see an update to the existing Facebook calendar. Currently you can get to your calendar by clicking on the Events tab on the left of the page and then view it as a List or as a visual Calendar. At the moment it shows events you’ve been invited to and your friend’s birthdays, which I find a bit limited.
This could be improved by allowing the user to customise their calendar to suit their needs. You don’t need to know when everyone’s birthday is, for example, but it’s super useful when it reminds you that your close friend’s birthday is coming up!
I’d like to see some integration with your Google Calendar so that the Facebook calendar can become a central-hub calendar. If you could link it to your event websites’ accounts (Event Brite, Meetup, Ents24 etc) then that would be fantastic. You can have your whole life planned out in one place!
I’d love them to introduce a ‘dislike’ button. It seems so obvious – come on, Facebook!
There are so many reasons to introduce this feature. For instance, when someone posts a negative Facebook status update (illness, bad day at work, sick kids etc. etc.) should you ‘Like’ the status to show support or does that imply that you’re taking some sort of enjoyment from their misfortune?
Maybe there should be a ‘support’ button? But then, do we really want to encourage people to post their drama online? This brings us to the other reason for having a dislike button: to flag up annoying status updates! Perhaps it could be anonymous so people feel more comfortable using it freely, but I would happily click away to make a point of my annoyance at vaguebooking, preaching, self-indulgence, OPK, using annoying acronyms, posts with bad spelling or grammatical errors, or people who feel the need to jump into an interesting discussion in order to point out bad spelling or grammatical errors.
Don’t even get me started on Facebook’s ‘how are you feeling’, ‘what are you eating/drinking’ emoticons. Bring on even more pointless drivel clogging up my news feed. I love Jeff Bullas’s argument for the introduction of an ‘I Don’t Care’ button.
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As someone who uses a lot of online services and tools I’m used to paying for services that are innovative and useful. Online product providers such as Spotify, Netflix are LinkedIn aren’t all about advertising because they offer paid-for service options with great functionality and support.
In my opinion services like Netflix have got it right. I’m more than happy to pay a subscription fee to Netflix because I’m safe in the knowledge that I’m paying for a quality service without any advertising being forced down my throat. Or into my ears, in the case of Spotify. Similarly, with LinkedIn there is a premium service which gives further ability with my account to do cool things like send InMails to new connections.
I believe that if Facebook moved towards having a premium account option it would be a good move. It will encourage the service to develop further and will hopefully mean that other alternative services will arise. At the moment we’ve only got Facebook, which monopolises the market, and I don’t think this is entirely helpful.
A good option would be if people had the choice to pay £5 a month for a premium account. This would also stop any adverts or sponsored posts from showing on their page. However, even though this is my prediction I highly doubt that it’s something that will happen in the near future, if ever.
In the mean time, if they make any updates to their Page Insights section I’ll be very happy because then I can help people report on their data more easily!
My prediction is that we will (finally) see a revamp for Facebook Notes. I’ve also got a sneaky suspicion that I might be right after researching into the subject a little further. I always felt that Facebook Notes, which were introduced back in 2006 whilst the site was only just starting out, were overlooked and lost amongst all the other products and features that have been rolled out.
Unlike status updates, Notes let users write much longer pieces of writing on whatever they want to talk about. It could be used for a personal list, an opinion piece or something they feel strongly about like a personal project. It could really be used for anything at all. In effect it let’s the user create a section of Facebook that reads like a personal blog, for all their friends to read. I think this could be a really interesting feature to introduce to the site which will be seen as tapping into an audience who are keen to blog but might not have already given it a go. Josh Constine of TechCrunch recently wrote how it could be a feature set to compete with the likes of Tumblr.
At present, Notes are hidden and the page looks quite uninspiring. There’s only simple formatting options and no way of embedding video or photos. If somebody posts a note it doesn’t appear on the Newsfeed so it’s not surprising that most people don’t even know they’re there.
Right now, a few of my friends are using Notes as a way to document their travels or to promote great causes. Other people are using it as a way to create personal list, for example a great playlist of music they want to remember and share with friends. This is just the start for Notes – there is a huge amount of potential for using it to take a snapshot of an important time in your life or create an opportunity for discussion that doesn’t have to clog up people’s Newsfeeds. It could be used in so many different ways to speak to chosen friends and replace the need for Groups Pages which also seem to become buried and lost over time.
As with all content platforms it could easily be abused but there is the potential to make Facebook a much more interesting place to browse.
Over to you…
What do you think the feature announcement will be tomorrow?
Do you agree with any of our predictions?
Or strongly disagree? (We love a healthy discussion!)