Facebook has introduced a new aggregation model. Content – updates, events, links, etc. – that are deemed to be of the same type get lumped together on your news feed.
Now, instead of seeing the usual chronology of updates from your friends, groups and pages you follow, you get hit with the entire list of updates from your network whenever another contact posts something relevant. Also, if you search for a given term within Facebook and return to your news feed, you’ll see that Facebook also offers up an aggregation of content on the term you just searched (which is how I pulled up the Apple results below).
Not to mention that Facebook will likely struggle with relevance – confusing oatmeal (as in, the delicious breakfast dish) with The Oatmeal (the witty web comic site), an issue touched on at The Next Web’s coverage of this new feature.
For example, my alma mater the University of Missouri School of Journalism was featured at Apple.com for their use of Macs in the classroom. Facebook latched on to the concept that this was an article about Apple and clumped together everything from my news feed into a new Apple category. Given what I do for a living and whom I’m connected with, this new aggregation is utterly worthless – Facebook cannot accurately assess which content should be aggregated together, as it’s relying on the very old fashioned method of searching for keywords.
A couple other examples where the aggregation does more harm than good – Google:
So what’s the harm in posting content that’s vaguely related? Two major issues:
- That content is now less prominently displayed in my feed. As seen in “Google” above, I’m going to have to work harder to see what AllFacebook.com and my other friends may have mentioned about Google. My options are to either unfollow (or hide content from) pages that update more frequently to ensure preferred content doesn’t get buried or click through at the bottom of every aggregation. That’s not an extra step most users will be willing to take, and it’s a potential loss for anyone using Facebook as a marketing tool – your content just became less likely to be seen, especially if you’re covering the same hot-button, timely issues that everyone is.
- So easy to spam! Want to ensure your content is consistently and frequently featured again on the home news feed? Just toss in a few top keywords and spam away! No doubt this is something that will improve with time, but … honestly! It’s 2011! Google did away with ranking based on meta keyword data ages ago, but now we’re back in the same boat when it comes to content distribution on Facebook.
I’d love to hear from others – is anyone genuinely excited by this new “feature”?