I track the Facebook Forums pretty regularly to make sure I’m getting all the info I need, and that I’m able to help on particular issues as I have time to help. One common thread I’ve seen throughout the last week is the continued complaints about the new Facebook design and how people don’t want to be forced into change. I was among the complainers myself at one point, but as Facebook has improved the site since they first allowed people to opt into the new design, I have really grown to like the new features Facebook provides. Here are 5 of my favorite features:
1. The Live Feed
Just about a week ago, Facebook launched a completely live Feed, that automatically refreshes with every update of every friend in your friends list. As new updates come through, you can comment and interact with the items that post to the feed, encouraging much more interactivity between friends. Facebook could definitely improve this more by opening up the Feed to third parties as Twitter, Identi.ca, or FriendFeed do, but it’s a step in the right direction, and Facebook allows you to peek into the lives of those you associate with much better than Twitter or FriendFeed do.
2. Feed Filtering
Also a recent update to the new design, users can display only the top stories, only the status updates, only the photos, or only the posted items of their friends. In addition, users can filter by only posts from applications they have added. This also includes Pages, Groups, and Events. Or, you can pick a specific Friends List (You are organizing your friends into Friends lists, right?) and filter by only those friends within a particular list. This makes sorting through all the information much better to only find the information you are looking for. Me, I like the firehose and I generally turn to the live feed.
3. Facebook for the iPhone
One thing the new design has enabled is a better architecture for handling better design on mobile devices such as the iPhone. The new Facebook iPhone app enables you to very easily set your status, browse what your friends are up to, post and browse through photos, look up a friend’s cell phone number, and more. Better yet, there’s an even better version in the works that is said to do things like allow tagging of individuals in photos right on the iPhone.
4. Application Tabs
If the developers of your favorite apps are savvy, they can enable their application to be added as a tab to your Facebook profile. This enables your friends to have an additional, even more expanded view of you when they browse your profile. For instance, if someone visits my profile, they can view all the songs I like via the iLike tab on my profile, or look at which of my friends are also family members of mine. This could also be a useful area for a resume, or any other useful information you want to share about yourself. Check with the developers of your favorite apps to learn if they provide this functionality or not.
5. Pages are no longer cluttered with Applications
Perhaps my favorite part of the new design is that it is much cleaner than the previous design. There is much more order and structure to it all. Now, the majority of your application boxes are saved to the “Boxes” tab, with the exception of a few that have adopted to the new design. You can always move an application out of the Boxes tab by clicking on the edit pencil icon and selecting “move to wall tab”. However, it appears Facebook is trying to give users more choice in this – now you can choose much easier and better ways of organizing your profile so others can learn what you want them to know about you.
The new design is definitely a big change, but I think as people spend some time in it they will find that it is actually an improvement, and will allow for even greater control and flexibility than it used to be. I suggest you give it a chance, play around with it and respond below with your own favorite features!