Facebook rolled out a new layout, which many U.S. users woke up to this morning.  Anytime Facebook makes changes, there are howls of protest, and this time was definitely no exception.  Indeed, the changes are some of the most drastic ever. I just somehow knew my vast reading audience (ahem)  was waiting to hear what I had to say about it,  (cough) so here are my first impressions. The short version: Google Plus and Twitter meet Facebook.

Positive: Subscriptions. Facebook users often were dissatisfied that updates on every Farmville, Mafia Wars or Disco Ducks appeared in their newsfeed. They also were sometimes not happy that Facebook’s algorithms were such that friends who posted infrequent updates or whose interactions were infrequent were shuffled to the bottom of the stack. Now with Subscriptions, a user can control how often they see updates and on what subjects. It’s also possible to subscribe to another user’s public updates (specifically tagged as public) even if you aren’t friends.  This changed rolled out for me over the weekend, and made a huge difference in my feed. I got to decide who were my top contacts.

The newsfeed photos are the same size as those in Google Plus, which is OK with me.


The split top-and-bottom screen with your top and most recent stories I can get used to, but I liked it better when I could switch between the two versions.

Negative: The ticker on the right hand side. First, it moves so fast it is distracing and eye-fatiguing. Fortunatelely, there are work-arounds that will remove that Twitter in hyper-drive from your feed. One of those is an extension in Google Chrome. http://blendblogger.com/2011/09/03/how-to-remove-facebook-ticker-on-chrome-disablehide-facebook-ticker/

Many posted outraged comments about these aggressive changes, as well as pictures and “trains”. These will be as successful as they were the last 10 times Facebook made changes, and I rpedict when the next cjhanges roll around, there will be people forming groups and demanding a change back to what it look like today. Even if there is “a million strong” to change the layout back to the last update, there are 750 million users.