Facebook F8 Announcements: As many of you have known, the tech industry has been buzzing over the last few weeks in anticipation of Facebook’s annual developer conference, F8.

Mark Zuckerberg and Co. (including a hilarious bit from SNL’s Andy Samberg) did not disappoint – to say the least! While there has been no shortage of news coverage about the various announcements from the show, what are the new changes on Facebook and how do they affect the social functionality on your site.

Enhanced sharing

Facebook now encourages sites and apps to share most or all user activities into Facebook. For example, if a user listens to music, Facebook encourages the music app to share each and every song the user listens to. If the user reads news on a website, then every article the user reads could be shared too.

Facebook is also enabling activity sharing which broadcasts the different kinds of actions a user takes on apps and sites. Actions are shared using their respective relevant verbs – David listened to Nirvana, Tom read Catching Fire. This adds a new dimension to Facebook’s Open Graph. Now Facebook shows not only that a user is engaging with a piece of content but how that user is engaging with that content.

Easy access to the massively shared data

Facebook has addressed issues with News Feed overflow, and therefore, to mitigate the problem of placing every update from every user in the News Feed, they created a new area on the News Feed page (called “The Ticker”) which reflects every new shared activity from users.

This is designed to enhance the user experience by presenting important shares in the main News Feed area while presenting real time activities on the right-hand side of the Facebook page. The News Feed items enable users to participate in the actions their friends posted about with a single click.

Additionally, any type of share, whether a standard share or an activity share is presented in the user’s Timeline, the new Facebook profile page which encompasses the user’s entire Facebook history. Facebook took it a step further, enabling the data to be represented in various ways on the Timeline using apps.

Developers can now create an embeddable window in the user’s Timeline and customize the way it represents the data captured about the user. For example, a news website can create a post in the Timeline that shows the articles the user read. These posts are like small widgets designed to increase referral traffic to the site that created the widget.

“With its new ‘timeline’ and app changes that bring real time discovery of content and activities, Facebook is positioning itself as not just your social graph online, but your life online. These changes not only help trump rival Google, but will open up new opportunities for marketers with new kinds of customer experiences, long term engagement, advertising, and customer intelligence – but concerns around privacy and immaturity in how to do these things effectively will make it a slow go,” said Sean Corcoran, a technology analyst for Forrester.

Google launched a new social network, Google+, earlier this year, to rival Facebook. It now has more than 25 million members and has been praised for its privacy settings and neat design.

Users of the social network will now be able to do more than just ‘like’ something. The social network has now added ‘verbs’ to its language. People will now be able to say they have ‘watched’ a movie or ‘cooked’ a meal.

Facebook, which has more than 750 million members, also announced that it had broken a web record for a non search engine site, attracting half a billion users in one day.

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  1. When you see electronic roadsigns that say “honk if you think the new FB changes suck”, it is irrelevant whether we like the changes or not. The point is we are not likely to give it up. We need it. We are all on Facebook.


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