Hate the new Facebook? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

22 Sep 2011

The new Facebook redesign has created a civil war of sorts on the social networking site, with a good proportion of its 750m users detesting the new News Feed and ticker. Well folks, there’s an even more dramatic change expected tonight.

That’s right. Hold onto your seats, because the News Feed revamp is only an entree to the main course.

Facebook, at its F8 developer shindig in San Francisco, will take the wrapping off an even more fundamental redesign and my guess is it will be your profile page that will bear the brunt. Again, people will react fondly or in bafflement, but Facebook must surely know what it’s doing. Right?

In recent weeks, you’ve seen Facebook deploy new features, like Subscriptions, and yesterday more users expressed bewilderment, annoyance and disgust at the new layout than those who actually like the new layout.

Personally, I like it. I gain more information from one glance at my screen – whether from the News Feed, which shows posts, or the ticker on the right-hand top corner that tells me about activity, such as new friendships and likes – than the previous version, which had me scrolling up and down the page for that lore.

However, people have been vehement in their dislike of the new layout. It’s called change and it seems Facebook needs to change to keep its cool.

In recent days, rumours have emerged that Facebook will implement one of the biggest changes: the conversion of a user’s profile page into a sort of digital entertainment dashboard. There have been signs of this change coming in the form of rumours of an alliance with Spotify, the launch of video services, such as the rental of Top Gear videos for 48 hours and the streaming of movies like The Dark Knight.

Writing in social media blog Mashable, Ben Parr claims to have seen what Facebook will launch later today and in the coming weeks, describing it as the most profound change you have seen on the social networking site yet. “The Facebook you know and (don’t) love will be forever transformed. The news that will come out of Facebook during the next few weeks will be the biggest things to come out of the company since the launch of the Facebook Platform.”

Parr went on to explain that Facebook’s purpose is to enable users to enjoy more meaningful engagement around emotional connections, which explains the newly revamped Friends Lists.

“The changes Facebook will roll out on Thursday are designed to enhance the emotional connection its users have to each other through Facebook. These changes will make Facebook a place where nearly everything in your life is enhanced by your social graph. These changes will make it so you know your friends better than you ever thought you could.

“On Thursday, developers will be elated, users will be shellshocked and the competition will look ancient. On Thursday, Facebook will be reborn. Prepare yourselves for the evolution of social networking,” Parr wrote.

It’s all pretty exciting. But so far, many users are up in arms. Let’s hope Facebook’s big reveal(s) will assuage their concerns.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years