Dramatic Facebook Changes

If you are someone who gets rattled when Facebook makes a site change, you might as well delete your account right now.
Supposedly, sometime this week the brand new Facebook will debut. Last week, thanks to a friend, I got tipped off on a way to make the new version reflect on my profile. I am currently under the new Facebook and let me tell you…it is different! But I definitely mean “different” in a good way.
The upcoming new changes to Facebook have probably been one of the worst kept secrets.  Then again, I really don’t know if it really was a secret to begin with, as the f8 conference in September (a yearly conference held by Facebook to discuss the company) detailed the new timeline format that would debut soon.
When these new changes go into effect for the general public, people are going to flip. Believe me, it is not one of the typical Facebook version changes where something might be moved to a different place or the newsfeed is tweaked. We are talking total makeover, wholesale type changes. It is going to generate a lot of  discussion across the nation and I know a lot of people are going to be pissed. But after they take the time to look over the new format and see what it has to offer, I hope they see that it is much better (click here to see what I wrote about the previous Facebook changes).
Facebook is now going to offer a timeline profile. Now you will have the option to go back in time to any period when you had Facebook and see all of the posts, status updates, and pictures from that era. I guess you could kind of do that with the current version but you would have to click “older posts” about 500 different times and it would take you probably three hours to get what you were looking for. With the new version, if you wanted to see what you were doing in the Facebook world on, let’s say, March 19, 2008, you would just have to click once or twice and you would be there. Right when I got the new timeline version I decided to go back to early 2007 when I first got Facebook. I could not believe how young and immature I sounded! I had stuff from a former girlfriend written on my wall that I would never let fly these days. It really did bring back a lot of memories, much in the same way that my journals do when I decide to go back and read past entries. Also with the timeline profile, you will be able to add pictures and information from the days before Facebook. Starting with when you were born, you can tell your life story through pictures and words.
With the new Facebook, you now also have the ability to “feature” certain posts. Let’s say you just got engaged, you can “feature” that and it will make the news the focal point of your profile. I can’t wait to do this for all of my blog posts.  It really just makes everything so much more customizable. No longer do you have different pages lined up vertically on your profile. Your info, friends, likes, pictures, etc. are all shown horizontally across the top of your page. Your actual profile with all of your posts from friends, added pictures, status updates, recent activities, etc. is organized in a double column format that fits the timeline theme. It confused me a little bit at first on where previous posts would be placed after a new one was added but I now understand it much better.
The feature that I absolutely love about the new Facebook is the ability to make “covers”. Your cover is a large 840×310 pixel space at the very top of your profile that you can design to fit your personal brand. People’s creative juices are going to be flowing as they make their various covers. Graphic designers are going to have a complete hay day as companies are going to look to them to make the slickest, flashiest one possible. That is how prominent Facebook covers are on profiles. I designed my cover to have my Twitter name and my blog URL on it. Of course, my life motto is also centrally placed on my cover.
This is my cover that I created for my profile.


This week at work I will be spending a lot of time designing covers for the various Facebook pages I run for Grizzly Athletics. Once these Facebook changes take effect, I am going to be ready for it. I said that a lot of regular Facebook users are going to get a little crazy when they wake up to find Facebook dramatically transformed but I also predict the exact same type of reaction from the corporate world. Facebook as we know it is going to change and I am going to be very interested in seeing how various businesses, companies, and government/educational institutions adapt to it. One thing is for sure, Grizzly Athletics will be in with the new the second the changes take effect.
I would say that I am a little surprised that Facebook introduced new changes just a month ago considering they are rolling out the major redesign this week. I guess it is kind of tough to see the point of doing so but I also can kind of see Mark Zuckerberg smiling at driving the world that is so dependent on his creation absolutely crazy. 
So here is my warning to all of you. Get ready for change and get ready to embrace it. The new Facebook will give you the opportunity to further your own personal brand and tell the story of “you” much more effectively. While other people take the time to complain about it, you should take that time to learn everything there is to know about the new Facebook and become very proficient at it. This new version is here to stay and it is going to rock the social media world. Be ready. Don’t Blink.

Want to Fire People Up? Change Facebook!

When I am sick and feeling like crap, I tend not to smile as much as I usually do. However, one thing that became a reoccurring theme today made my lips move ever so slightly from my constant frowning position into a faint smirk. While scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed I saw all the people having heart attacks over the new changes to the most popular social networking site in the world. You honestly would have thought that overnight someone must have gone into the houses of some of these Facebook users and robbed them of everything they owned, killed their dog, and then set fire to the place based on some of the reactions of outrage that I saw. Likewise, for every two posts of outrage that I saw, I read at least one post using just as many capital letters and just as many exclamation points as the anti-new layout people by Facebook users who wanted to make their point that “change happens” or to “just live with it.” I found it humorous how so many people let the new Facebook changes impact them one way or the other to speak out against it on, ironically, their Facebook pages.
To be completely honest, back when I was a Facebook rookie I too would get a little agitated when I would go to sleep after using one version of Facebook only to wake up the next day and see that it had been replaced with a version that made it so my notifications were in a new place or that certain chat settings had been changed. Didn’t Mark Zuckerberg know that my whole social existence hinged on Facebook and by pulling the rug out from underneath me he was severely damaging my cred? You know though, after about the third time changes were made on Facebook about four months into my initial time on the service, I kind of stopped getting worked up about it.
If you are over eighteen years old and you have been on Facebook for two years or more, you should probably not act as if the world is ending when changes are made. Let’s face it, changes on Facebook approximately every two or three months is about as likely as the sun rising and setting each day. What I find so amusing is that the new changes will occur, people will bitch about it for a day, they will get used to it, and then they will pretty much completely forget about what the older version was like before  they were introduced with the new version that they initially despised.
I think the only people I feel sorry for when changes are made are the “older” generation of Facebook users. I know my mom is going to go on and she is going to be a little puzzled about the bigger pictures and the numerous help bubbles that are going to pop up explaining to her the new changes. I do expect a phone call from her the minute she logs on (“No Mom, it is not your computer acting weird. Everyone now has this version of Facebook. Yes, you still write on my wall the same way you always do. No Mom, that girl is just a friend.”)
To the people who let the complaints about the new Facebook layout get to them: Take a deep breath and don’t let the complaining bother you so much that you have to devote a status update to it. Just realize  that these complaints are just as much of a sure thing as the Facebook changes themselves. No matter how elegantly or non-elegantly  you put it, people are always going to resist the change, it is just a fact of life in pretty much every aspect.  Hate to break it to you, but your attempt at trying to make people “grow up” and “get on with their lives” is falling on deaf ears. Just give it a rest.
In business, it is a catch-22 when you have a successful product and you have to wrestle with the prospect of change. If you ride your successful product for a long time without change, there will be a group in your customer base who will become tired of the same old thing and they will put pressure on you to add something new. Once you appease that group and you do add new components to the product, you piss off the other group in your customer base  who can’t tolerate change and who probably eat the same thing for dinner every single night. It is impossible to please everyone.
Just a quick non-Facebook example of this: At my job, we produce the best in-stadium game day football experience at the Football Championship Subdivision level and one of the best experiences in all of college football. Yes, we could continue to do the same thing year in and year out but we would get crucified by people in our fan base who expect to see new and exciting elements each year. Once we do add new stuff though, the old school fans will complain that things “are not done the way they were three years ago, and the way they were done three years ago was much better.” It is amazing how people resist change so much that they can get a vastly superior product placed right in front of their eyes and still tell you with a straight face that they think the past version was better.
I am an advocate for change in the modern business model and I do support Facebook making frequent changes. Do you understand the gold mine that Mark Zuckerberg has? Do you know how many aspiring social networking sites he has chomping at his bit right now? The dude is a competitor and he is going to keep tinkering and improving his product every chance he gets to keep his monopoly. It is just what successful business people do. Facebook could care less about pissing people off for a day or two after they make changes because they know that they will eventually adapt. If Facebook kept the same version they had three years ago they would be about as relevant as Myspace is right now.
People  need to chill when Facebook makes changes…both the people who dislike change and the people who dislike the people who dislike change. Instead of spending your time spewing out an emotionally charged status update, either (if you dislike  change) take the time to understand the new version and appreciate the fact that the company is trying to offer you a better product or (if you dislike the people who dislike change) save your frustrated energy and take comfort that you will probably make a lot of money when you grow up because you understand the necessity of change. Besides, if you wise up the people who don’t like change you are just going to be adding more competition to your chances of achieving your big pay day one of these days. Enjoy Facebook. Don’t Blink.