You may notice that Facebook has rolled out yet another redesign: this time on your profile. In addition, Facebook has made a bunch of changes over the past few months, so I thought I’d do a post summing them all up.
New Groups feature:
Over the past 12-18 months, Facebook has made vast improvements with its “Page” feature, and it seems like hardly anyone is using groups anymore. Early in October, Facebook rolled out a new Groups interface, and it is a vast improvement. Now, I’m not saying that if you have a business, you should go back to having a group. If you have a business, you should have a page. This is a really great feature for a closed group: a bunch of folks that you share a common interest with.
I belong to several, and have started a couple myself. They allow for threaded commenting, and in addition to being able to post links, photos, videos, etc, you can also post documents (sort of–you have to copy/paste).
A word of warning, however: anyone can add you their group. Someone whom I should not have even accepted a friend request from (even I am still learning!) added me to her group. I think it had something to do with real estate, but I left about 4.5 seconds after she added me, and then unfriended her, so I’m not exactly sure. Anyway, this is a much better example.
A bit late on the bandwagon, but Facebook has created its own response to Foursquare: Places. Basically, it works the same as Foursquare: you go somewhere, you check in using your mobile phone and it posts to your Facebook status where you are. And, like Foursquare, businesses can get in on the action and offer discounts, etc to you if you check in nearby.
I’m already using Foursquare, so I don’t use this feature. And I think it’s important to note that safety (for example, if you post your address on your FB profile and then “check in” somewhere far away–it leaves you open to thieves) is a concern. Above that, geo-tracking tools like Foursquare and Facebook Places are being blamed for creating even more “noise” in the social media world, so be aware about “checking in” to places in a way that gives value. For example, I’ll “check in” to theatres on opening nights, or to restaurants to give them a plug. I recently unfollowed someone because they went for a walk, and every block or so, they were “checking in” to a business they were passing. Not going into the business, just walking by. Good-bye!
Starting over the next few months (although I read that it will be much later for us in Canada), Facebook is going to start rolling out @facebook.com email addresses for all its users.
Facebook is not calling it “email,” however, as they believe it is going to be so much more than that. They are calling it “seamless messaging” because it will be integrated SMS, Chat, email, or your Facebook messages. Also, your FB friend’s emails will get priority in your Inbox.
Time will tell whether or not this feature will stand up, or if it will be just another thing we have to check. There is some conversation online about how this new system may replace e-newsletters, but unless the email has a really beautiful functionality which allows us to insert photos and graphics, I doubt that it will. It could also leave us more open to spam.
I have never personally had any problems with this in the past, but you can now administer promotions on FB without FB’s written permission.