Facebook puts spotlight on
groups & Events
With the announcement of the revamping of its main mobile app, Facebook now aims to put more focus and emphasis on two of its most widely used and popular features: events and groups. With this new overhaul, recently announced at the F8 conference, Facebook Groups will now become the front runner and foundation of how Facebook wants users to think of its platform. Following these changes to the platform, users can also expect to see the Events feature getting a makeover as well – especially considering its popularity as one of Facebook’s main features that people associate with on a daily basis.
With tens of millions of active groups on Facebook, it comes as no surprise that when people find the right one, it often times becomes the most meaningful and interactive part of how they use Facebook. With this in mind (especially given the huge number of Facebook users around the world), it seems as if Facebook is rolling out a design that is geared towards making it simple and easy to put user communities right at the center.
Let’s listen to what Mark himself had to say and then follow up with our summary below.
The New Focus On Groups
With the new restructure, Facebook is making an asserted effort to ensure that Groups are now visible in every part of the app – this means even in places like the Marketplace and Watch sections. One big change for users to note will be the new Groups tab located in the middle row of the menu bar. With this new feature and placement, when users tap into this tab, they can expect to get a personalized feed of updates from all the various groups they are a part of, as well as additional recommendations for new groups they may want to join based on their interests.
In addition to this increased visibility and new overall integration into the app, Facebook is also introducing and building specific tools tailored to group types – making it easier to maintain, manage, format, and engage within the communities. With these new tools and integrations, Facebook claims that you will be able to post to any group in which you are a part of from the News Feed, making it almost identical to if you were posting to your own profile.
What To Expect From Events
As for Events, Facebook is putting a huge emphasis and effort on helping users find more stuff to do in their own neighborhoods. With the new Events tab, which is also conveniently situated next to the new Groups tab on the redesigned menu bar, when users tap in there is now a much richer map view for seeing where the events are that you are interested in, as well as where they are in proximity to one another.
Along with the easier access noted above, users can also expect to find a much more intuitive look and feel to the design that makes it easy to find new events, organize the calendar, and quickly sort through events that they may be interested in checking out. With these changes and upgrades, finding public events, or even events your friends are hosting in and around your neighborhood, just became a whole lot easier.
A New Addition: Introducing Meet New People
In addition to the new focus on Groups and Events, with its new change, Facebook has also introduced a new feature called Meet New Friends. This new feature will allow Facebook users the opportunity to seed through the entire app and connect with strangers who have shared interests, hobbies, concerns, or even real-world connections – like working for the same company or employer or having attended the same school. One great aspect of this new integration is that it will also be linked to the new Groups design, making it not only more helpful but also easier for people with shared online (or real-world) interests to connect and meet in real-time.
So Where Do These Changes Come From?
Facebook is in the earliest stages of completely redefining and reshaping the company’s future and overall goal. With these changes, Facebook aims to begin the transition of its social network into a more user-friendly, privacy-based communications platform.
While this is no easy task in itself, Facebook must also contend with the other part of the process which will entail establishing and ensuring the appeal of the app and continued user happiness as it transitions away from the News Feed to a more concentrated focus on Groups.
While the News Feed has been the main source of encouragement for users to connect and engage with as many people as possible (not to mention it has also acted as Facebook’s primary source for harvesting data and serving targeted ads relevant to users’ online behavior), it has also been one of the biggest sources of the company’s ongoing problems with data privacy, security, and platform misuse. With every user being treated as a publisher (on one of the world’s largest media platforms), Facebook has become a tool that can easily be manipulated for what can be deemed as “inappropriate” content. While the News Feed isn’t going completely away any time soon, Facebook users will definitely notice a shift away from the old ways.
Out With The Old…
With this shift in focus to Events and Groups, Facebook is making a conscious effort to bring forth a new version of its core app that is less governed by the old “algorithmic” ways of the News Feed, and the company’s old philosophy of continued growth at all costs. In today’s society, the main ways users utilize Facebook is by connecting with communities, regardless the size, that are centered on a common interest.
For all this to work, Facebook is taking cues from former competitors (like Reddit and other community based social networks), and combining them in an attempt to form a better social media platform away from the old, and in many cases, outdated, centralized concept that treated the power to broadcast as its main purpose and benefit.