It’s no secret that Facebook has lost a lot of its allure with users and youngsters are opting for alternatives such as Instagram and Snapchat instead. However, for people who can remember the 90’s Facebook is still the dominant social network but it is not naïve to the fact that users are growing increasingly disenchanted with the growing number of advertisements being displayed in the News Feed. As a result, Facebook is adding a new feature to its status update box called Lists.
Encouraging users to share more personal content
The idea behind the new feature is to encourage users to share more personal content. The List feature does exactly as its name suggests, allowing users to compile lists of anything they desire. This could mean anything from a To Do list, travel ideas or New Year’s Resolutions (though we advise you don’t do the latter because most people never stick to their resolutions!). You can create a list with different background colours and decorate your list with emojis. The design of the feature enables friends to copy each other’s lists and share their opinions.
Changing the News Feed
The List feature will roll out globally on a gradual basis and is part of the “What’s on your mind?” feature set. These features are Facebook’s attempt to push users to post more personal updates. The social network wants users to share stories about their lives and what they are doing and thinking. The kind of stuff that was the bread and butter for Facebook on its rise to ubiquity because it encouraged friends to continue checking their feed to see what other people were saying. Over the years that personal touch has seemingly disappeared because the News Feed is now full of videos, links, news, memes, Page updates and advertisements.
Downgrading non-personal content
The problem of non-personal content dominating the News Feed is something Facebook is trying to address. Recently the social network announced that its News Feed algorithm will prioritise posts from friends and family instead of brands and publishers. However, that is not a solution to the problem that people have been posting far less personal content for years now. According to a 2016 report compiled by The Information, personal status updates on Facebook fell by 15% from the previous year. During 2014-2015 personal status updates declined by 21 per cent.
Younger users attracted to alternative social networks
As we said in the introduction the problem is compounded by younger users flocking to alternative social networks. According to a recent report from eMarketer, in 2017 Facebook lost 2.8 million users aged under 25 in the United States and this year is on track to lose another 2.1 million this year. Not surprisingly this is something that is of great concern to Facebook and they are being proactive in trying to deal with the problem.
Developing features that younger users will love
Facebook hopes it will be able to reverse the trend by developing features that appeal to younger audiences. Last October it acquired the viral app tbh and then immediately rolled out a Q&A feature in News Feed that was based on tbh’s. the List feature is just the kind of thing younger users will love because it draws attention to what the user is posting in the same way coloured backgrounds do today. We don’t know when the Lists feature will be available globally, but it has already started rolling out in some parts of the world.