The new Facebook page notifications

TL;DR? What role the new notifications for page-updates plays in the users experience of Facebook.
Initially this was part of my blogpost on Facebook and changes in user-experience. A few mind-drops suddenly turned into a stream so I decided to split the post in two to provide you with (you probably guessed it) a better user-experience.

A few days ago Facebook started rolling out a new feature, perhaps as a response to the criticism that followed the changes in Edgerank alogorithm: It allows users to opt-in for a notification everytime their favorite pages post. While it might serve a purpose of shutting up marketeers who are afraid their fans will miss out on all the content they are producing it also adds complexity (and extra choice) and changes to the user-experience.

First of all it seems to me it’s a feature designed for

  1. Experienced Facebook users. 
    It’s a opt-in feature and it’s position is initially hidden. In other words, it’s probably not a feature for the average Facebook user but serves to empower the users who want to be more in control – and know how to.
  2. Super-fans
    Just as the ‘close friends’ feature, these notifications will probably only be used by Super-fans. But those fans are (supposed to be) getting most of the page content regardless.

At it’s core it does help small pages with a relative low Edgerank-level to engage and interact with it’s super-users and I can see it’s raison d’etre when it comes to yearly events or pages who has a short or intense timespan and who might have no purpose in trying to keep the fanbase active throughout the year (other than keeping their Edgerank-level high); It might be a page dedicated for political elections or the annual local summer festival.
In other words; it’s a feature that – while being significant for some types of pages – probably wont have a big impact on a large scale.

That is unless Facebook, marketeers and/or page-owners start to promote the feature to an broader (and less Facebook-savvy) audience. If this starts to become a trend, I think it’s very likely that brands would have to adjust (decrease!) the amount of content they post if they don’t want to suffocate their (super-)fans. Not only would it change the experience for users opting in but – in case pages start to adjust to this new audience – also the users choosing not to.


On a last note, Facebook is also testing out a separate news feed for pages. While it still seems to be a very limited test and things might get rolled back or changed up I doubt that the functionality – at its current location in the left side bar – is going to have a big impact on user-experience.

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