Facebook unveiled their new and improved news feed this week as part of a big rollout of new features for the platform. More new features and enhancements are expected to be released during the Facebook F8 developers conference on Thursday, although by looking at the reaction heard by Facebook users users all over, the biggest change is definitely in the news feed.
The news feed is broken down into two main components, the feed down the center of the page and the the ticker on the upper right side. The ticker, which updates faster than the feed features likes, status updates and comments on posts that may have otherwise slipped off the feed. This will help you keep current with past posts with your Facebook friends, and friends of your friends. The ticker will take a little getting used to, but it’s ability to quickly view past comment threads is greatly appreciated.
The newsfeed has also changed by ordering the stories by relevancy instead of strictly posting them in chronological order. Facebook uses a complex algorithm called Edgerank to predict which news items and status updated you would be most interested in. This Edgerank is baed mostly on the likes and comments that you have made on past stories and posts. Also, notably in the feed is a greater emphasis on pictures. The images are bigger, so its easier to view and enjoy images that others have posted.
A big concern with the news feed is that it prefers stories from individuals over stories from pages and groups. If there is a business or organization that you follow on Facebook, their content could quickly be lost unless you start pressing the Like button or comment on their posts. Fortunately there is another method to highlight your favorite business pages so that you never miss a post. On the upper left corner of every business page post is a little triangle that looks like a dog ear that you would put in a book page. Clicking this corner marks the post as a ‘top story.’ Top stories are given preference in the news feed and will float to the top of the heap, giving them preference over lesser articles. For example, I really like the RelyLocal Wausau posts and don’t want to miss anything about Wausau’s Buy Local campaign, so I click on the Top Story triangle in the upper left of the post.
More features are expected to be announced later this week and our next post will look at some of the additional new features found in Facebook including Lists and Subscribers.