Keeping up with Facebook: Recent site updates decoded

By Herb Scribner

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On Tuesday, when users logged onto Facebook, they weren’t given an entirely new model to look at, but an entirely new experience drawn from other social media outlets.

For users unaccustomed to the new model or for those looking to get involved, here’s a look at the new aspects to the social media platform that has over 750 million active users.

Top Stories

Prior to the new model of Facebook, users were given the choice to navigate between the most recent news stories and the top stories with a click of a button. With the new model, Facebook has made it so that top stories appear immediately on the page.

Top stories are cast with a blue corner which, when clicked, allow users to signify it is no longer a new story and limit similar stories from appearing in their news feed.

These top stories can range from statuses, album postings, videos and link sharing. What classifies them as top stories is that they have happened in the past two hours and include people whom the users often interact with.

Lists

Drawing from the newer social media website Google+, top stories can be categorized by lists in order to limit how much users are seeing from specific people.

Lists are similar to Circles, found in the aforementioned Google+. These user-created categories for certain friends can consist of common schools, inside jokes or company-based lists.

If a user wants to share something with only a specific group of people, it is now possible with lists. If a user wishes only to see content from a specific group of people, lists allow such to happen as well.

Long gone are the days where everyone’s status updates (including that creepy guy from high school that just can’t seem to move on) come flying into the news feed.

The Ticker

The ticker made its debut to some users in the past month, popping up on the right side of the screen above the chat. With the new model, the ticker is prominent and offers a solution to those who would rather see the most recent updates opposed to the “top stories.”

The ticker frequently updates and offers viewers a peek at what their friends are doing across their separate Facebook pages. People can almost instantly see when a friend posts on their friend’s statuses, making it easier for users to connect and network with friends of friends.

When one of the ticker posts is clicked, a popup stems off from it showing the exact post from the friend. The ticker has a Twitter-like feel to it with the instant updates.

Subscriptions

Subscriptions are a combination between “following” someone on Twitter and an RSS feed.

Users can subscribe to friends and pages with the new update, which allows a closer following of friends than in previous models. Users obtain instant notifications from someone they subscribe to, whether it be a status update, photo posting, or even a “like.”

Users can mediate the extent to which they wish to subscribe. This includes options of seeing only certain posts instead of seeing everything.

Users should note that if a friend is listed in the “close friends” category, they will instantly be subscribed to all their postings unless the settings have been changed.

Chat

Chat has little changes since it had its overhaul done during the summer. Users can still video chat and have their chats stored in their messages.

The only major change to the chat is that it has been downsized because of the ticker that sits on top of it.

Photos

Photos changed slighlty as well. Much like Google+, photos are enlarged on the news feed and are accompanied by other photos from the albums on the right side which appear although much smaller than the center photo.

Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected]