Over the past few months, Facebook has undergone a serious face-lift, with Timeline and News Feed becoming much more visually appealing. How did it all happen, and what was the reasoning behind it? Facebook Strategic Partnerships Manager Ime Archibong recently spoke with sister site Inside Facebook about the changes the site has seen recently, and what it means for developers.
Archibong discussed how the sections for media on Timeline came about:
I moved a few weeks ago, and I was trying to downsize, so I took all of my books, all of my CDs, all of my DVDs, and I literally went to my Timeline section and put in Catcher in the Rye, Heart of Darkness, and so on. And then I put these things in a box to give to goodwill.
There’s always been this conversation about how as things move toward digital, we lose this attachment and ownership of content. But I think we fill a pretty big void there. This (Timeline sections feature) shows how I’m emotionally attached to this Mary J. Blige CD or this Jay-Z CD without me having to take it every place I go in some form factor I don’t even listen to anymore. So it’s just observations like that that influence product and design and made us do some very interesting and compelling things for users.
Inside Facebook and Archibong also discussed the future of Open Graph, wondering if there is a new way for application developers to use it that really hasn’t been done yet:
I would say, if you are a company that is building a product that is inherently social offline, that looking into the Open Graph and the hooks of the platform is where the opportunity is. We saw that with the fitness app ecosystem that sprouted up recently.
So, I’m not really a runner. I’m more of a team sports person, but all of a sudden, I’m trying out this Nike+ fitness app, and my friends are cheering me on as I run, and it’s like “Ooh OK, people are actually paying attention.” People talk about running marathons and they run faster or it’s more enjoyable because you have the crowd there cheering and giving you support. The fact that I can now do that with just my phone, my earbuds, and my Facebook friends? That my mom can cheer me on from North Carolina and my aunt can cheer me on from Kenya? That’s fantastic and great and turned me into a runner. Whether it’s digitally or a person giving me a thumbs up as I’m running by, that starts to change things. I think that was the most exciting thing for me, seeing something offline change as a result of the online integration that a company chose to do with Facebook because it is inherently social.
I think if you’re an app where you see an offline behavior that can be changed, enhanced, or supported by doing it at scale, breaking down geo-boundaries, that’s where your opportunity is to plug into the Open Graph.
For the full interview, click here.