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Innovation

Facebook updates profile pages, moves stuff around...again.

Most updated Facebook template changes don't ever really show you something new, they just show it to you differently.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor on

Over the last few days, Facebook has been rolling out a round of changes to personal profile pages. It's interesting to observe these changes over time, watch people's reactions, and try and figure out what Facebook's methods are behind the changes. Most Facebook profile template changes to me feel like the menu at Taco Bell. It doesn't matter what you order, every item on the menu is made out of the same ingredients - meat, tortillas, cheese, sour cream, and in some cases vegetables. When Taco Bell wants to add something 'new' to the menu, they just move stuff around, repackage it, call it a new mashed up (and in many cases butchered) spanish word and then launch it.

Facebook feels a little similar in that most updated template changes don't ever really show you something new, they just show it to you differently.

A New Introduction.

Basically they've moved the profile/bio information from the left side to the top. They've also added some of the most recent photos that you've been tagged in to accompany the general information about the person. As a visual person, I like the addition of the photos being grouped with a profile introduction. While I am slightly biased because I'm a photographer, more importantly it validates a known statistic that most online content consumers are more stimulated by some sort of visual aide, whether it's videos or photos, when reading something. Photos also have a way of making everything more personal, giving us a more comprehensive view of someone and their lives. Some say it looks cluttered. I like it because I can get a quick idea about someone and leave without digging.

Featured friends.

You can now highlight friends for various reasons, create new groups of friends, or feature existing friends lists. I do like to organize my news feeds from my friends & family to coworkers to business contacts. I'm pretty sure however this will also serve as a popularity contest for our younger online generations. It'll be interesting to see how my teenagers use this feature.

New experiences.

According to Facebook, "the new profile also gives you new ways to share your interests and activities. You can list the projects you worked on at your job, classes you took in school, your favorite musicians and sports teams, and more." I'm pretty sure I'm already doing this on a daily basis anyway. The only difference now is that just like the ability to tag your friends with Facebook Places, you can now do the same thing on an even more granular level. Now you aren't just documenting where you are, you can now also document where you are and what you are doing, with who, while you are there. I still get a little bit of a pit in my stomach because I feel like Facebook's quest to make things more personal online inadvertently teaches us that it's more important to document what we are doing rather than to actually focus on experiencing it. See my other post on that topic.

Improved photos and friends pages.

With the new "infinite scroll" feature, it's now a lot easier to browse through all photos. As you scroll down a profile, you'll notice that your vertical scroll bar keeps readjusting and getting shorter, allowing you to scroll through even more photos. I could probably live without this but it's nice to not have to dig through people's photos if they have several meticulously organized photo sets like I do. If it bothers you to never be able to reach the official bottom of a web page, this will probably drive you nuts.

There are a few other nuances but in a nutshell it's more of the same stuff.

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