What a year Facebook has had, at least when it comes to upgrades.
Changes to the site in 2011 have improved engagement, safety and monetization.
That said, here are the 10 most significant improvements that Facebook made in 2011, not necessarily in any order.
Most people on Facebook have yet to upgrade their profiles to timeline, but those who have are raving about the depth of content in this advanced profile.
2. Inline Privacy Controls
Facebook moved most of the privacy controls to locations next to where people share content on the site. This strategy has spurred more people to avail themselves of these features than ever before.
Many have called Facebook’s subscribe button an effort to emulate Twitter, but this profile feature is quickly becoming a must-have for people who want to present themselves as thought leaders.
4. Immune System
This nickname for Facebook’s nickname for its security technologies cropped up inthe media this year, but the term immune system really sums up the collective effect of the bold steps the social network has made to dramatically reduce the frequency of spamware, clickjacking and other digital maladies that used to crop up regularly. Some of the more significant moves have been:
- Partnering with Web of Trust has enabled the site to identify and block posts that include insecure web addresses;
- A social verification system provides a means of recovering lost passwords through trusted friends;
- Log-in approvals send code to mobile devices so users can authenticate attempts to access accounts from unrecognized machines; and
- Smart friend lists create groupings of contacts with things in common, all but forcing people’s hands to use this features for microsharing instead publicly posting everything for all to see.
Facebook has altered the method it uses for prioritizing content in the news feed on home pages. Although some people insist that the move from the old algorithm EdgeRank to the new one, GraphRank really has dramatically changed the content appearing on homepages — more targeted and engaging posts show up.
The ticker has added movement to people’s homepages with the scrolling updates about all friends’ activity on the site, differing from the engagement-oriented news feed taking up the wider middle column.
7. Talking About This
Facebook’s revamped page insights include a really nifty metric visible to all: Talking about this. Showing visitors how many people are posting on Facebook about the page’s title may inspire more people to reshare content from that page.
8. Negative Feedback Metrics
Facebook has only just begun to test measurements of negative feedback on pages’ posts, which are based on what people put in their news feeds. This statistic has the potential to help page administrators greatly improve their content.
9. Sponsored Stories
Facebook’s best-performing type of advertisement, sponsored stories launched in January of 2011 and the social network subsequently created seven different variations on the promotion. All refrain an individual’s interaction with a brand to that person’s friends, the most popular variety telling people who likes the advertiser. The site plans to move these ads into news feeds starting next month.
10. Credits Incentives
This year Credits became mandatory for all applications that request payment in exchange for premium content, and developers that use the digital currency exclusively get a host of incentives that can help generate more income. These include:
- Get balance, which shows individual users’ balances to developers;
- Buy with friends, which encourages people to recommend purchases; and
- Frictionless payments, which enables gamers or shoppers to pay for goods without leaving the application.
What do you think were the most important upgrades on Facebook this year, readers?