Facebook has reinstated the “What’s on your mind?” status update prompt to the home page and other places where the publisher is shown. Facebook had hidden the prompt from some users for the past six months, requiring a content tab from the publisher to be clicked before the appropriate question or option to upload media was displayed. Now users will always be greeted by the “What’s on your mind?” call to action when visiting Facebook, which should lead them to contribute content more frequently.
Encouraging users to post status updates is key to keeping the news feed fresh for everyone. If users visit the site and don’t see new content, they’re less likely to return as frequently.
Facebook released statistics last year stating that 60 million users update their status every day during February 2010, and now says that 30 billion pieces of content are uploaded every month, or roughly 50 per user per month. Since it’s much easier to spontaneously update one’s status than to ask a question, upload a photo or video, or post a link, providing a visual reminder to post these updates should increase shared content numbers.
Making status updates the default tab of the publisher is simply good design. While the expanded prompt will push down a user’s news feed or wall a few pixels, it removes a barrier to one of the most common forms of engagement on Facebook. The ever-present call to action should convert more users from spectators into participants, making Facebook more interesting to browse and keeping the daily active user count growing.