Anyone that has used Facebook since the beginning knows that the one constant on the social media giant is change. Just when you think you are getting a handle on your timeline and comments options, they change, which is the most surefire way to raise the ire of the collected Facebook community. The normal pattern for this change goes as follows:

 

  1. Facebook announces change
  2. Users ignore announcement and hope it will just go away
  3. Facebook reiterates announcement
  4. Users realize to their horror that their Facebook timeline is going to change and there is nothing they can do about it.
  5. Facebook implements change
  6. Users complain loudly about changes and how they are going to “get rid of Facebook.”
  7. Users do not follow through on threats
  8. Two days later everyone gets used to the change and forgets it ever happened
  9. Facebook celebrates
  10. Repeat

Much like the stages of grief, Facebook users grow to accept and even like the changes made to their timeline and forget about the old design, dooming it to the long forgotten pages of Internet lore.

This year has not been any different, as Facebook has made some dramatic changes that users will inevitably hate (for a few minutes at least.) Before staging a protest or sending a nasty email to Mark Zuckerberg you should first understand the new changes to Facebook and how they will affect you.

Why Are Changes Important?

Aside from making it harder to find someone’s relationship status or tag friends in pictures, changes in the Facebook timeline could actually be important to users. There are many privacy issues on Facebook that could potentially put a person’s photos or information at risk, so it is always important to read through the latest privacy agreements and see if there have been any new changes. Some changes affect how your information will be used and shared by advertisers, while others are just simple cosmetics that will not have a drastic affect on anything except how the page looks.

New Changes to the Facebook Timeline

Before getting into how these changes to Facebook will affect users, let’s first take a look at the latest changes that have been made to the world’s most popular social network.

Cover photos: Facebook has loosened some of the rules when it comes to cover photos in an attempt to increase ad revenue. Cover photos used by businesses or anyone trying to sell a product were previously not allowed to add a “call to action” such as “get it now” or “be sure to tell your friends.” This rule has been removed so that cover photos can contain this type of text.

Lookalike audiences: This will allow advertisers to find people that are similar to those that have already “liked” their page.

Expanded Messenger: People can now make free calls on Facebook in the United States and UK, just like Skype or other types of messengers.

Threaded Comments: This feature allows comment authors to reply to other commenters in a layout that is threaded for convenience.

Single column timeline: Although this change happened at the beginning of the year, people are still talking about it. The timeline was changed from a double column to a single column design.

How These Changes Will Affect Users

Now that you know about some of the latest changes to Facebook it is time to understand how these changes will affect the Facebook social networking experience.

Cover photos: The cover photo rule was changed to give more freedom and versatility to advertisers. It will bring more cover photos into the newsfeed, which means more people will see them. It will also allow advertisers to be more experimental and add different types of “call of action” tags to their cover photo. Users will likely see more cover photos in their timeline and have more ways to interact with products, companies, movies and music that they like.

Lookalike audiences: This is another change that will mostly help advertisers. Since they will be able to further hone their audience, ads will become even more targeted. This means users will likely see more ads that appeal to their interests.

Expanded Messenger: Now users will be able to connect with friends in one place. Since Facebook is the most common and widely used social network it will allow users to consolidate their messaging, which is very convenient.

Threaded Comments: This will help people deal with and manage a large number of comments on their page and makes it easier to see the best comments.

Single Column Timeline: This will clean up the timeline, making is less confusing and easier to use.

Don’t worry, as soon as you get used to these there will likely be more changes rolled out by Facebook, but this gives you a basic understanding of the newest changes and how they will affect your experience.