After a significant wait and lots of speculation, Facebook finally rolled out the news on their latest developments for the popular social media site. While rumours previously suggested that the updates would involve a new
Facebook e-mail system and improvements to their mobile phone strategy (there were even rumours of a Facebook phone) the official announcements are somewhat off the mark.
First up, users and Facebook developers can now download information from the site itself, letting them create a copy of their wall posts, messages, profile, photos, videos and more. This information can be downloaded in a compressed ZIP file, and can only be accessed after a username and password check along with appropriate security questions. The feature is now available to all Facebook users under their account settings.
Up next is the new and revamped “Groups,” a feature which has been largely ignored by Facebook users. While Groups was first used by fan clubs, companies and other organizations to share information with each other, the idea didn’t quite catch on as expected. Because of limitations, the product was eventually overshadowed by the success of Facebook Pages, which boasts a lot of features Groups doesn’t have.
The new Groups concentrates on building mini communities for a smaller, more closely-knit group of people. The idea is to create a private space for a small group of friends where they can stay updated of each other’s activities. Another feature that makes Groups significantly better this time around is the availability of group chat. In short, the new Groups allows you to create a smaller social network within the giant group that is Facebook.
Other updates include a new dashboard for your Facebook applications, letting you keep track of which applications you’re using and which ones you’ve given permissions to, as well as a privacy dashboard for easier use and tracking of privacy controls.
Facebook’s primacy as a social media channel makes these changes important for digital marketers. Enform believes that the enhancements to the “Pages” option will continue to provide value for brands. However, in our view Groups are underutilised and could be leveraged more for brand community projects.