ND&P Intern Anna Hirschbiel takes a look at some likely Facebook changes, and possible impact of those changes...
Well Facebook users, after a year of stability we are in for another “positive” addition to the network’s format. The designers and developers of Facebook have begun testing a new aspect to the basic layout called, “Happening Now.” According to Mashable.com this new attribute appears where the “Upcoming Events” section is currently displayed. “Happening Now” seems to be a live feed of everything that your friends are doing on Facebook, such as “liking” comments or posting pictures.
Hmm… Don’t we already have this feature on Facebook? I’m pretty sure it’s that big section that takes up most of the space in the middle of your homepage. What’s it called again… Oh right, a News Feed! The designers and developers have said nothing about removing the actual News Feed from the layout, so my question is: Why do we need two News Feeds?
Now, it is quite possible this will help keep the network open and free for the 750 million users, and that is all good and grand. However, let’s be real here, the only reason this aspect is being added is because it could lead to more advertising profit. The new layout will keep advertisements static as users scroll up and down the page. So how is limiting the ad space more profitable? Well, one theory is Facebook will treat their ad space like the Super Bowl treats their commercial space and charge more because they will be viewed longer and more often by a large audience. Nonetheless, how this will make the network additional money is beyond me, because designers can currently load that side with as many advertisements that they see fit and in theory make the same amount of profit as they would with the new layout.
Also, have they forgotten the very vocal oppositions there have been to the past design changes on the site? I predict this modification can only bring equal or more of an outcry simply because it is a change that is completely unnecessary.
So what’s my conclusion? Is it that Facebook likes to turn us upside-down whenever they feel we are too comfortable, and they enjoy hearing our outrage when big changes occur? No, I think Facebook is trying to make a change they believe will be profitable for them in the long run. However, I can guarantee that we users will not conform quietly. Facebook will have to put up with a lot of angry posts and comments from us while they wait for this change to pay off. But hey, at least they will get the message twice on one page, right?!