Tag Archives: Facebook features

Facebook rolls out new design for news feed

Facebook Timeline updateFacebook is slowly rolling out changes to your news feed, but this new design may not leave you grumbling like all the other changes. Unlike previous design updates, this layout one is intuitive and easy to figure out. It allows you to customize your feed based on your interests and viewing habits.

facebook photos newsfeedI think the new design features a cleaner look that’s customizable based on what you want to see. The stories and photos in your feed are bigger. You can also customize your news feed on the right hand side. You can select recent, all friends, or just photos. When you select photos only, your news feed is filled with large photos that your friends posted. The photos are vivid and large. It’s like a slideshow of your friends lives. It’s so customizable, you could view photos only from people you went to school with or your work colleagues. It’s all based on groups you create. You can also choose a news feed based on music or games. It’s all based on your interest or mood at the time.

new timeline 2 edited There is a sidebar full of icons that allow you to easily navigate to the other sections of Facebook like events, photos, and messages. There is even an icon to build a family tree.

News feed family tree icon The family tree is not an app, but you need to add it to your timeline. You can build it right on the web. You click add a family member, and Facebook automatically populates possible people. It’s pretty accurate, and based on your previous interactions and mentions. You can even get stats on your family, like age distribution, gender distribution, alive/deceased.

Facebook is trying to get you to spend more time on their site. While the family tree is an interesting feature, you need to consider what you are telling the social media site and all your friends. At some point, you need to consider what to share and what not to share. Privacy is becoming more of a privilege than a right, and we’re partly to blame. While social media sites make it easier to share and connect, the more we share the more we give up our right to privacy.

The family tree is a neat feature, because it makes it easy to see how you’re connected to loved ones. It’s visually laid out for you. However, think about what you’re doing and how much of your privacy you’re compromising.

privacy settings

Whenever changes are made, it’s a good idea to check your privacy settings. You can do this by clicking at the top of your Facebook page and choosing Settings. Then click privacy from the left hand column. You can also find privacy settings as a lock icon in the sidebar.

Most of these changes seem to effect your news feed only. The Timeline page looks the same, other than the icons that are on the left allowing you to navigate to different sections of Facebook.

My husband got the new look this weekend, but I still don’t have it. If you want to get it earlier than scheduled for your Timeline, you can add your name to the waiting list.

Facebook explains the new design here. What do you think of the changes?

Related links you may like: 
Facebook Timeline 101
How to use Facebook Graph Search
Facebook Timeline privacy

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Cash for your feedback

We all want a little extra cash, but how much time are you willing to invest for the chance of winning something? At the bottom of most cash register receipts, the store asks you for customer feedback. If you take the survey on the phone or online, you could win a prize. Sometimes, it’s up to $5,000. The constant surveys have consumers asking — “Does anyone ever win?”

For a NewsChannel 5 story, I looked for winners. For some companies, they’re easy to find. Others won’t even reveal who won citing privacy reasons. Other times, the winner is listed with their first initial and last name like J. Smith. Plus, their city.

I’ve been backgrounding people for a long time, and can usually find someone. However, this task proved difficult. I started with the less common names knowing that might yield better results. I’d call every person with that name in a particular city. I’d reach people and say are you the J. Smith that won $500 from such and such a store? It never was that person. Unfortunate for them and myself.

I must have called fifty people and never did find someone whose first initial, last name, and city were listed as the winner. I got lucky, when I found the lists from Red Lobster and Olive Garden. The full names of the winners are listed online.

Now, I’m all about privacy. I understand why stores are reluctant to name the winners online and why some stores use ways to protect them by just listing their first initial. However, there is a lot of skepticism among shoppers about these surveys and whether anyone ever wins.

Cleveland State business professor, Elad Granot, told me consumers have survey fatigue. We’re asked about our opinion far too often. He says the validity of these survey results is flawed. Are people just giving any old answer to the survey just to be done with it and entered into the grand prize? Or, do they sincerely take the time to fill it out?  Granot says an engaged manager would yield better results for the store.

When consumers feel like nobody is winning, you lose trust in the store which is the opposite of what stores are trying to do with these surveys. This story generated more than 60 comments on our NewsChannel 5 Facebook page and my page. Only one person mentioned they ever won.

The shopper won $500 to Best Buy, and says it definitely paid off for the business. He bought a camera he still has and it got his friends to shop at Best Buy thinking they might win. That’s not the norm, though, as dozens of other people told us they never knew a winner.

They are out there. They’re just rare — just like lotto winners. The good news for shoppers – stores are switching their marketing methods. Many are using social media to give you instant savings. If you like something on Facebook or Tweet a deal, you can earn instant money. It’s a little more gratifying and you’re in control.

Instead of asking for feedback, stores want you to promote their business. For it, you are rewarded. Sears is offering a personal shopper program. Recruit your friends, and you earn a 1% commission on their purchases.

I expect more companies to begin these programs. They are still limited, but I think this is more gratifying for the shopper and rewarding for the business.

Have you ever filled out a store survey? Do you think it’s worth your time?

Facebook changes news feed – what these changes mean

Did you notice your Facebook page looked different this morning? The news feed is split into two.  Your main news feed now has top stories, and then recent stories. To the right, there is a ticker with other status updates.

This originally happened to me late last week with no notice. Then, Facebook restored my page with no notice. I thought that was the end of it, but today the feature was rolled out to everyone. At least this time, Facebook added a tutorial of the changes.

Since writing my original post about these changes, I’ve heard from lots of readers. No-one has told me they like the changes, and I’ve been inviting all comments since I posted about this last FridayHow do you feel? Weigh in below by clicking comment.

Facebook says it made these changes to put all your news in one place with the most interesting stories at the top. The “top stories” are ones Facebook thinks you’ll find interesting. They posted while you were away.

Continue reading: What’s a top story?