Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home Sweet Homepage

Facebook is at it again.

That's right -- in case you haven't heard, Facebook launched its new homepage today. I was talking with my coworker, who hates the new homepage, and I asked, rhetorically, whyyy they keep changing it. Then I remembered. Revenue. That pesky pesky... what's it called? Oh right, business model. (You know, the thing Twitter doesn't have?) Although Facebook claims the new design is meant to make the homepage more relevant compared to other social networking sites (... Twitter), they're really doing it to make money. Yes, I said it. The new redesign is more advertiser friendly.

"But Lisa," you ask, "what do you mean more advertiser friendly? It's Facebook! I know they don't have a clever slogan like MySpace..."

(Sidebar: MySpace's slogan is 'A Place For Friends.' Facebook's ever-catchy slogan is 'Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you')

"... but it IS a place for friends, right? Who cares about advertisers?!"

Yes, little one, it is a place for friends. Except now, companies ARE your friends. Scared yet? The new redesign no longer gives companies pages of their own ("fan" pages) that designate them as companies and keep them separate from your life. Instead of these "fan" pages, they now have regular profile pages, just like you, me, and your mom. Which means they can directly infiltrate your news feed. In case you haven't noticed the companies piloting this over the last few days (the NYT has been doing it to me), any company you've become a "fan" of can now post directly to you and show up in your news feed, right amid the updates from your real-life friends who are "Baking cookies! I feel so domestic!" or who are "Commuting... AGAIN" -- and who aren't trying to sell you something. (Usually.) It's a brave new world, folks.

The new design does have some cool features though. Read more about it here.

PS: In other Facebook news, you all should read this article from The Weekly Standard. It's called "Down with Facebook!!" by Matt Labash. Well-written and hilarious. Also, it's true. Guilty as charged. (And yet still using, and writing about, Facebook. Damn you, Zuckerberg!)

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