Facebook introduced the new profile to its users this past December, and hoped to upgrade all users from the old profile to the new profile early during the new year. Gradually reeling its users towards the new profile allowed users to sample the new profile before it officially became mandatory, which stirred up different types of discussions between almost all Facebook users. Not only did the new layout get users talking, but the new features such as exposing all users to individual friendships and connecting interests between them, caused much debate between whether the old profile or the new profile was viewed as “better.”
An immediate distinction that one can make when comparing the new profile to the old profile would be the omission of the status update being the focal point of a user’s profile. Facebook users are of course still able to update their status’ regularly, however, instead of having the status update directly corresponding the user’s name at the very top of the profile, Facebook decided to provide a bio. Facebook states that the new profile “starts with a snapshot” and “begins with a quick summary of who you are, giving friends an easy way to see where you live now, where you’re working, and more” (About Facebook Profile). In addition, the new profile also contains your tagged photos directly underneath your summary or bio, which also displays to your friends what you have been up to lately. The bio at the very top of your Facebook profile is essentially a conversation starter. When meeting a new person, you would exchange information about where you live, where you attend school, and where you work. It seems that Facebook has followed the fundamental communication script when meeting new people face to face, and has pushed it towards the social networking level of communication instead.
Scrolling down the page of your new profile you will see that the tabs have been omitted, and have instead moved towards the left side of your profile page. There you can click to see someone’s wall, photos, videos, notes, and friends. Relationship status’ are also blatantly eye popping instead of being semi-hidden within your info tab, which was a feature of the old profile. Clicking on info, allows you to view the user’s interests, further information regarding their previous jobs, and their about me. The info section has not changed much in relation to the old profile, and most users whom I have spoken with in this discussion between the new and old profile have stated that the photos and info section of the new profile has indeed been “cleaned up,” and is much more user friendly in general because of the large pictures and layout of the photo albums.
Heading back up on your new profile page, allows you to see that you are also now able to “discover common interests” and “highlight meaningful friendships” (About Facebook Profile) on the very top right section of your profile. Most users have seen this aspect of the new profile as “extremely revealing,” as one of my close friends stated. Facebook mentions that discovering common interests between your friends allows you to “showcase the things you care about most and connect with friends who share the same interests,” (About Facebook Profile) seems to be shifting what it means to “like” a page, and is therefore pushing users to utilize the “liking” or “becoming a fan” feature in order to truly show what you care about and what your interests are. Switching towards the feature that had my news feed up in a bundle, the “see friendship” link, has been primarily the most controversial feature that the new profile offers. Many of my friends on Facebook had status updates stating “See Friendship? More like see stalkers unite.” The see friendship link gives you a lowdown on your, well, friendship with another person essentially. You can view mutual friends, photos and videos you have been tagged in together, and events you have attended together. Many users have argued that the “wall-to-wall” was “stalkerish” and open enough, and that Facebook did not need to add the “See Friendship” feature.
With all this said, there are definitely beneficial aspects of the new profile as well as some setbacks. The new profile gives a cleaner look, and allows users to immediately dive into the information that they are searching for when browsing through their friends profiles. Overall, the new profile wins over the old profile because it contains several other useful elements which the old profile lacked, and expands the social networking atmosphere, which interests me greatly. The one tink in this profile may be the “see friendship” link. However, most users are in fact utilizing it, therefore, Facebook succeeded in its goal to provide a much more open environment because the see friendship link is alluring at times. And lets face it, although we may say the “see friendship” feature is a tad bit on the stalker side, that is one crucial aspect of Facebook that lured in users in the first place. People want to know what their friends are doing, what the latest gossip is, etc. Facebook is only further accomplishing their ultimate social networking goals, which are intriguing to users. I believe the see friendship link is in fact intriguing as is the new profile.
One aspect that did not get touched on within Facebook was the Pages feature, which includes artists, public figures, etc. In the future, Facebook will of course tweak these Pages even more, and perhaps offer the new profile look for them as well. Perhaps the Facebook events for artists/businesses will become more prominent in the future, in that users will be able to more actively search what events/concerts are occurring in their town, and Facebook could send users updates on which events are happening throughout their city, rather than having users physically having to search for the events themselves through other mediums. It would also be extremely beneficial if all Facebook homepage news feeds included an “event page” or “artist” filter within the Top News or Most Recent bar in order to offer a news feed that is solely dedicated to the artists and public figures/organization you as a user have “liked” on Facebook.Although not touched upon throughout this generation of Facebook’s new profile, the marketing aspect of Facebook will only continue to flourish and expand.
Although quite different from the old profile, Facebook is nevertheless moving even higher up in the communicative social networking world, and clearly striving to blend face-to-face communication with internet communication. Facebook is almost creating a sort of hybrid of these two forms of communication through the new features offered within the new profile. Meeting a new person face to face may not be the case anymore because you have already virtually “met” them through the various types of information you can now find about a user thanks to Facebook’s new profile. Facebook is after all centered around the motto of providing a world where we are all connected and open, and this new profile most certainly creates this realm of openness even further. It will be interesting to see how Facebook will continue to progress and shape the communicative social networking field in the future with its next “new new profile” or “new new new profile?” Well, we’ll see how far they get.