To start off, I have a confession to make. I am on Facebook and Instagram everyday. But I don’t feel too guilty about it because I’m sure that I am not alone in this! Especially during this pandemic, social media has become my main interaction with the outside world. But even before the pandemic, social media has played a big role in connecting with the outside world.
For the purpose of my Designlab’s assignment, let’s focus on how I (we) navigate through Facebook (although I pretty much utilize both products interchangeably for similar but distinctly different functions). Although Facebook offers a variety of function, I use Facebook primarily to consume and share content laid out on its home feed with related/suggested content.
Home Feed (The Infinite Scroll) — This is now the main function of Facebook and appropriately given the home icon. Previously, users could pretty much catch up with their content. But now, with a machine learning algorithm suggesting content along with content from “Facebook Friends” and Pages that they follow/like, it’s pretty much an endless scroll. It is up to the user to decide when they have been sufficiently entertained/updated with current events.
A big part of Facebook is not only the content but also the sharing capabilities. It’s where people can come together to share their thoughts and find others who think like them (whether it is positive or negative). For me, it is an indirect way to keep in contact with my friends far and near with my thoughts and interests as well as express myself and what I believe.
When something is shareworthy, Facebook provides a variety of ways for users to share (i.e. Timeline, Story, Page’s Story, Messenger, Page, Groups, and more (Apple sharing functions). Each method of sharing has icons to differentiate each function from the other, while the general sharing function is a forwarding arrow. Because this is the main why people interact on Facebook, Facebook has developed the different channels people can share to also compete with new and emerging products that can possibly render Facebook obsolete in the future.
The Chat Function is an important component of Facebook. Messenger has been an extension of Facebook as well as a product of its own. Appropriately, its icon is a word bubble with a scribble. Even though it is a simple interface, users can do a lot within each chat/room. “Facebook Friends” can share videos, photos, voice recordings, GIFs, send money and share their location as well as call, video chat, react, and communicate via avatar. Messenger is a great communication product and bolsters Facebook’s success.
Timeline is the post board for users to express themselves. Because the content people post on their timeline populates the feed of respective “Facebook Friends”, the timeline itself is not the main way content is viewed. So though posting on a timeline is a popular/main function on Facebook, the timeline itself isn’t. So unfortunately, it resides in a Hamburger menu now.
Notifications is how users keep track of live content on Facebook as well as Timeline activity of posts, tagged photos and videos, etc. Its icon is a bell. Since its function is to alert users of what’s happening, it is quite appropriate.
There are so many different functions of Facebook and each user uses them differently. (For example, companies and content creators use Pages, those who buy and sell locally use Marketplace, etc.) For this reason, Facebook is constantly working to improve and remain competitive in the market. I, for one, am more of a consumer and sharer and enjoy the ability to keep in contact with my close friends through it!