The One Big Thing: Facebook's Updates

It seems it’s been all Facebook, all the time for me this week:

I’ve been reading about the upcoming changes to Facebook, thinking about the upcoming changes to Facebook, scheming over the upcoming changes to Facebook, experimenting with the changes to Facebook, , and (see below).

It should not be surprising then, that I think The One Big Thing you need to know about this week is Facebook’s Updates.

The most significant two changes to Facebook is the introduction of live update feeds and the change in tense from third- to first-person.

Both changes, I believe, are a direct result of the growing clout of .

The fundamental appeal of Twitter is that it excels at enabling real-time conversations. Prior to the update, Facebook’s status feed was refreshed only every 10 minutes; now, like Twitter, the status feed is updated in real-time.

And instead of declaring “David is…” next to my status update text box, I am now asked “What’s on your mind?” The change is designed to shift Facebook users’ mindset from third- to first-person. David is writing about Facebook versus What’s on my mind? Well, I’m writing about Facebook. First person invites interaction; third person does not.

The third most significant change is the introduction of filters for your friends list. Now you can categorize friends into different lists, so I can have my Friends list, my Touch Football list, my Work list, my Media list, my Online Marketing list, and so forth. The ability to group types of followers is a feature Twitter users have long clamored for. Count that as a preemption.

And a welcome one. I find that I’m missing far fewer updates from my friends than had previously had.

Most significantly from a business point of view: Facebook Business Pages now have status updates just like individual profiles do. When you update your Business Pages status, that update goes into all of your fans’ friends feed.

This is a superb top-of-mind tool to ensure brand awareness. Using it will require a deft touch and brands, too, will have to speak in a first-person voice and that, in turn, will invite interaction, and that leads to conversation, and…yeah, you know where I’m goin’.

Lastly, in case you missed it (and if you missed it, you’re obviously not following me on Twitter or Facebook), WCCO TV’s Amelia Santaniello did a piece on how Gen Xers and Boomers are joining Facebook for which she asked me a few questions. Here’s the segment:

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