Facebook Celebrates 10 Years By Giving Users “A Look Back”

Photo courtesy of The Icing On Our Cake

Photo courtesy of The Icing On Our Cake

In celebration of it’s 10th birthday, Facebook has rolled out “A Look Back,” a personalized video of your timeline’s most shared moments.  It’s a lot like the “year in review” tool it offers at the end of each year, only it’s a compilation of your entire time on the platform.

Reflecting back on these 10 years, Facebook has changed the way we interact and has shaped our culture in ways none of us imagined.  With 1.2 billion monthly active users, the platform has helped us connect, reunited us with childhood friends, allowed us a place to grieve over lost loved ones, given rise to a new form of marketing, turned “friend” into a verb and given countless of us social media strategists a satisfying career.

What’s next for Facebook? In a post on Mark Zuckerberg’s Timeline he says:

Today, social networks are mostly about sharing moments. In the next decade, they’ll also help you answer questions and solve complex problems.”

Thanks Facebook – here’s to you! Get your personalized video at Facebook: A Look Back.

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Grief and Social Media: Why Facebook is Not Going Away

Philip Seymour Hoffman tribute

Philip Seymour Hoffman tribute – Fairport High School hill

Yesterday the world lost an amazing actor, a Hollywood star and a talent beyond measure. We watched as reporters spread the news that yes, Philip Seymour Hoffman  succumbed to his addiction and died from a drug overdose in his New York City apartment. The world grieved. I didn’t learn about his death on the news though. I learned about it on Facebook.

Philip Seymour Hoffman Yearbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014

Almost immediately my newsfeed blew up – photos, articles, tributes, questions all pouring into the feed, overshadowing the Superbowl.  My feed was full of the official announcements on CNN, PBS, NPR, CBS like most everyone’s. But it wasn’t those articles dominating my feed.

It was my high school friends sharing the news.

See, Phil and I were classmates at Fairport High School. And it was Facebook that brought many of those classmates back into my life, most recently for our 25th class reunion, but even before that, back in 2007 when Facebook started opening up to high schools. It was then that many of us jumped in and reconnected. Hundreds of classmates, separated by time, distance and the business of our lives. It was Facebook that reconnected us.

And it was on Facebook yesterday where we shared our grief and our memories. Immediately, yearbook photos started to surface. Little league, wrestling, drama club, graduation, prom. His sister, also a classmate, requested we set up a tribute page for him to share memories and condolences. My friend did just that and the page Remembering Philip Seymour Hoffman now serves as a place where we can connect and remember. We all share memories of, not only our high school classmate, but of that feeling we had when we saw him on the big screen and said to ourselves “hey – I KNOW that guy!” Seeing someone you went to school with winning an Oscar, acting along side Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, well, for most of us – IS a mission impossible. And he did it. And we all felt like we were somehow a little part of it.

So we grieve and remember together on that Facebook page and in our own feeds. The world lost an award winning actor, and we lost a childhood friend.

Even as I write this, I can hear CNN reporting on his death. But I also hear the Facebook notifications coming in as my friends, my Facebook friends, continue to share their memories. I suspect we will continue to grieve there long after the news media has lost interest. This tragic event will bring us closer together.

It was this, his performance in our high school version of Death of a Salesman – that many of us remember the most. It is seared in my memory. It was like we all knew that day, as Phil portrayed Willy Loman, that something vastly larger than ourselves was there. We were mesmerized.

“I’m gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream. It’s the only dream you can have – to come out number-one man. He fought it out here, and this is where I’m gonna win it for him.”  Arthur Miller – Death of a Salesman – Act 2

RIP Phil. Thanks for bringing us all closer to the stars.

death of a salesman yearbook

Death of a Salesman – Fairport High School 1985

Facebook Showing Fewer Text Posts from Business Pages

Image courtesy of Flickr

Image courtesy of Flickr

In an announcement yesterday Facebook revealed that it will begin showing fewer text posts from business and fan pages, while it will begin showing more of the same types of posts from friends. Facebook attributes this change to their efforts to show more of the type of content users want to see.

“We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types. This will help us show people more content they want to see. Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.”

Here’s how the change works. When many pages share a link to an article they embed the link in their status update, like this:

Facebook text status update

With this update Facebook says the best way to share a link is to use the link-share function, as their testing shows this type of story generates more user engagement. Here’s what a link-share update looks like:

Facebook link share

This may be an unwelcome change for page admins using a third party app for posting, as some apps do not activate the link-share function automatically. I also see this as an incentive from Facebook for businesses to use the native app. If you manage a Facebook page, keep in mind that these link-share posts will be the best type for engagement and distribution.

What do you think of the change?

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