I believe the recent Facebook homepage update had more meaning than just a visual redesign. It was a redesign of our entire user experience online and the way we behave on Social Networks.
So far most of us used social networks as a way to keep in touch and share updates with friends. Some of us used it to share content created on other platforms – either our own posts, videos, photos or links we found online. This content was rarely discussed on the social networks themselves. The conversation has mostly happened in the source comments, or sometimes on Twitter or other blogs via trackbacks.
The new real-time Facebook updates stream is about to change this behavior and monopolize our conversations:
1. People will be openly conversing on Facebook rather just “hanging out”.
2. People will comment less at the content source and more on the social network, where their opinion is appreciated by friends.
3. People will spend more time on Facebook instead of content sources, because that’s where people they care about will be conversing.
4. People will open their Facebook networks to include more followers who are not their real life friends, to expand their reach and influence.
5. Centralization of content experience will continue blurring the lines between personal work related content and interactions, making it even harder for people who are not self-employed.
6. Facebook will monopolize the social conversations by becoming a central hub for one person’s opinions.
7. With this behavioral change there be huge opportunity for niche social networks to monopolize conversations in their area.
If you look at the big picture you might think that until now we learned the social networking skills (how to connect and with whom) and now we are finally ready to start the social conversations. Hopefully they will be as meaningful and rich as the real life ones.