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Is Facebook Growing Up?

Months after updating his site’s search tool, CEO Mark Zuckerberg moves to put the “News” in News Feed

Jim Kerr is Alberta Venture's web editor. Get in touch with him at jkerr@albertaventure.com.

Mar 13, 2013

by Jim Kerr

Social media companies are a lot like political parties – they all try hard to set themselves apart from the next guy, but when you get down to the details, none of the heavy hitters are all that different from one another.

In politics, the main parties are generally either slightly right or left of centre; with social media, companies seem to be either more Facebook than Twitter, or more Twitter than Facebook. In the grand scheme of things though, most of these social networks are very similar in a lot of ways because they tend to pick out each other’s best ideas and try to incorporate them into their own sites.

Take Facebook, for example. Right now they are unveiling a revamped “News Feed” section that they’re calling the “best personalized newspaper,” mimicking Twitter a bit.

According to CNet, the “real-time information network” that Facebook is trying to create is aimed at being a better way to stay on top of current events. In the past, the algorithms the site used made it tough to see some of the posts a user wanted to see, but this should change things. Bloomberg reports there will be larger photos, expanded snippets of text from shared articles and a more prominent presentation of those items. The new design will also offer more consistency across the different devices that people use to access the site.

Ultimately, what Facebook is doing here is trying to win over those who currently check up on their circle of friends on Facebook and then hop over to something like Twitter to get caught up on what’s happening elsewhere in their world. As well, by putting an emphasis on tailoring users’ News Feeds to better suit their interests, the company is probably hoping that people will share more about themselves in order to get better results. That helps Facebook attract advertisers and will bolster the site’s new “graph search” function.

Another thing we see is Facebook trying to appeal to a larger audience, now that teenagers are apparently turning to other forms of social media. It’s almost like Facebook is “growing up” with the people who signed up years ago and are now in their mid-to-late 20s.

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Still don’t believe me that all social media networks are slowly becoming the same?

YouTube is working to make its comments section more “socially sophisticated” and a co-founder of that website is about to launch a “collaborative online video startup” within the next couple of months. Meanwhile, The Verge reports SoundCloud is hoping to become the “Twitter of music.” As for Twitter, it has recently made some changes to spruce up how things like pictures and videos are displayed on their end.

See what I mean?

Either way – it’s a bold move for Facebook to try and make itself the best source for “social information.”

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