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Stories, Visualization, and Serendipity: The New Face of Facebook

By , September 22, 2011

Today’s major Facebook announcement at F8 was a highly anticipated event. After seeing the sweeping changes in everything from the profile to the way friends discover each other’s interests, we can see why. The new future seems to be the culmination of years of laying the foundation for social connections – a foundation that will now extend deeper into users’ lives. It creates a space for them – and makes the companies, artists, and media they interact with – more integral to the process than ever.

There was an incredible amount of information to digest, but in summary, Mark Zuckerberg announced the following:

A complete overhaul of the Facebook user profile. The Facebook profile is now a timeline of one’s activity on the site. For many, this means a digital storyboard of their lives, year by year. Facebook’s dubbing them Timelines. Visually stunning, Timelines, Zuckerberg said, are “exactly how you want to browse through time.”

Seamless apps that summarize activities and allow users to express themselves. Communication, gaming, media, and lifestyle apps – dozens of which have already signed on to partner with Facebook – will showcase topical activity on one’s Timeline. They can be added to a Timeline from a friend’s with one click. Frictionless experiences with these apps negate the need for pop-up prompts to share, “real-time serendipity” makes discovering content from friends easier than ever, and highlighted patterns in your friends’ actions open up new ways of visualizing the data of your network’s interests and behaviors.

The announcements today also outlined sweeping updates for Facebook users and app developers. Facebook primarily makes changes to Facebook Pages and other marketing products afterward, but the shift in how Facebook views itself in users’ lives holds promising possibilities for companies. It’s a new mechanism of life curation, the “box” that holds the memories of daily experience. With brands being an integral part of users’ lives, the updates coming for brand marketers on Facebook will be exciting to see.

In the meantime, sign up for the beta of the first product release, Timeline. And check back with Shoutlet to get the latest on changes for Facebook Page owners and social media marketers.