If you’re a Facebook user, then you’ve probably noticed a lot of changes on the Facebook platform so far in 2012.
Facebook users now have a real-time activity feed, many of them now have the Facebook Timeline profile and there have been other minor changes such as updates to the Facebook photo viewer.
There is also a lot of buzz about the imminent Facebook IPO and the company’s recent purchase of Instagram.
Because of all the buzz and all of the changes, there is a lot of confusion in regards to the exact direction Facebook is headed in.
When a company goes public, the need to generate revenue in order to satisfy investors rises greatly. We will see a lot more advertisements and we may even see the rise of a Facebook premium service to segment the users that would be willing to pay for an ad-free version of Facebook with more functionality.
The Facebook Timeline issue is also something worth discussing. The feature was originally announced in September of 2011 and was made available for developers. Facebook claimed that the update would be rolled out to all users within the next few weeks. That rollout never happened and Facebook finally began updating Facebook users’ profiles early in 2012.
Oddly enough however, not everyone has received the Facebook Timeline update. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to who receives the Timeline update and who doesn’t. If you have received the update, I highly recommend that you take the proper steps to prepare your Facebook Timeline profile.
Many of the people who have received the update are very upset and have quit using Facebook altogether. I personally enjoy the update but, from a business perspective, Facebook has failed to communicate with their users and the entire update process has been unorganized, confusing and unprofessional.
I witnessed the same situation when the real-time activity ticker was released. I received the activity ticker for two days and then it suddenly disappeared for 4 months. Oddly enough, I am a Facebook App developer and many of my non-developer friends had the update and I didn’t!
The Instagram buyout was also a very interesting event that deserves some discussion. Many claim that Facebook overpaid for the mobile photo upload service so, why did they do it?
First of all, Facebook wants everyone to use their service for anything social. Mark Zuckerburg may have been trying to get rid of one of his competitors by simply swallowing them up.
The buyout also provides Facebook with an experienced team of mobile developers – something that Facebook has traditionally lacked.
On a smaller note, Instagram has some additional features that the native Facebook photo upload app does not.
In conclusion, there is a lot going on with Facebook in 2012 – maybe even too much. It seems that they’re starting to get careless with their updates and feature upgrades. I don’t know the last time I’ve seen a fully implemented and tested Facebook feature work how it should when first released.
Facebook has become an increasingly disorganized company and although they may seem rather invincible as a social media powerhouse, as we have seen with the SOPA and PIPA protests, word on the internet travels very fast and Facebook better tread lightly if the want to retain their user base of nearly 1 billion people.