Facebook's New Layout Important to Newspapers

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A month ago I would have scoffed at the idea. There was no way that Facebook would have any importance to a newspaper, apart from their need to have a Facebook page for fans to follow. With the new changes to Facebook, newspapers should start paying attention.

Facebook has over 800 million users and has posted a day with over 500 million members logging in. It is safe to say that a lot of people's opinions are able to be expressed via Facebook. This is why the reaction to the new layout should be alarming to newspapers everywhere.

According to this article, Facebook claims it is trying to become "your own personal newspaper". Their news feed section is something taken directly from many newspaper websites. There is also a real-time ticker off to the side that keeps you up-to-date on who is doing what all the time.

And the overall consensus seems to be dislike.

If the Facebook members have such a strong reaction against the new format, what does that mean for the newspapers? It means that there is a possibility that a large number of potential readers would not like navigating their website. It means that they might be losing readers because of their layout.

Or maybe there is no correlation at all. What are your thoughts? Does the initial reaction over Facebook mean that newspapers should look into revamping their format? If so, how could they do it better?

Photo via Creative Commons.


SarinaRhinehart September 25, 2011 at 8:41 AM  

Personally, I really dislike the new Facebook format. I especially hate the live news feed on the side because it is distracting that it keeps moving.

I also don’t like how many newspapers set up their websites. An example is the Huffington Post, which is a website I use daily. Their website is too cluttered, and I barely look at the idea on the sides, I just look at the main headlines that are down the middle.

These websites just need to clean it up and make things simple for users.

Megan Evans September 25, 2011 at 10:23 AM  

I agree with Sarina that "cleaning up" websites is the best option. Facebook seems to be attempting a complete overhaul of the format, an overhaul that does not appear to be productive or popular. Change for the sake of change is not going to be positive. However, if the organization makes clear how these new pieces work and will work for its users then it just may have a chance.

People use these sites for quick, informative information, so making it more complicated and cluttered may be detrimental.

Mariah K. Young September 27, 2011 at 11:25 AM  

I take a different stance on the topic. I really like the new Facebook layout because I can get right to the things I care about while the live ticker on the side helps me know to the minute what action is going on.

I don't mind the clutter of Facebook because to me it doesn't seem like clutter, I am familiar with everything going on. However, when I view the Huffington Post, or most news sites for that matter, I find it overwhelming and very cluttered.

I have yet to see an online newspaper that I find easy to follow and pleasing to the eye. The first paper to have a successful layout will definitely catch my attention.

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