Facebook Gives Notes A Much-Needed Facelift

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Attempts to Make Notes Less Bleak.

The company has largely ignored Notes for years; the last major update was in 2010 — but as Facebook increasingly builds out its publishing features for media outlets, it makes sense to encourage its 1.25 billion users to think of the social network as a place for their own blog posts as well. Notes originally appeared on the site as a means for users to write extended entries (not unlike Engadget’s own Public Access) though it never really caught on with the user base. The blogging alternative that Mark Zuckerberg always insisted was not for blogging is a great way to read long blog-like posts from people that you used to know.

Users now have access to a set of basic text formatting tools — like headers, block quotes and bulleted and numbered lists — and can add cover images to each note. Originally, Facebook Notes were simple white pages for writing some users occasionally used to write a long-form post about a memory, experience, or opinion, among other things, and it appeared in a special section on their profiles. Beyond the inclusion of a cover photo, which offers a bit more personalization for notes, Facebook lets you also resize inserted photos and include a caption.

It’s been five years since Facebook rolled out an update for its Notes services, so it fell somewhere in the depths of the internet, gathering dust and ignored about most users. However, the company never invested too much energy into the feature and it didn’t become as popular some of the Facebook’s other features like location check-ins, for example. In addition, the refreshed Notes touts more visually enticing layouts as well as new fonts to make the notes appear like a blog post and not just an extended user status.

The updated Notes, however, makes a better use of images, and is overall better-designed thanks to font and text options — and they look eerily similar to blog publishing tool Medium. Instead of the standard wall of plaintext that longform Facebook posts have traditionally eschewed, the additional formatting makes the entries much easier to read and digest. In August, Facebook did a major overhaul of Notes, which aimed to give users another space in which to compose long-form thoughts instead of just simply posting it as a lengthy status update. If you’re stuck for inspiration, Facebook suggests recapping your summer holiday, voicing your opinion on something in the news or sharing a recipe with your friends.

As we noted when Facebook first began experimenting with the new look, the change also makes Facebook loos a lot more like Medium, the blogging startup created by Twitter cofounder Ev Williams. However, you might also say the new Notes look a lot like Kinja since they both feature photos and text. (Stop copying us OK Facebook?!?!) While Facebook started testing the new design about a month ago, Zuckerberg’s engineering squad started rolling it out to everyone today. There’s quite a bit of potential for the use of Notes, especially as the content people put in there could potentially be used for advertising purposes (a guess), but if it’s used by businesses, the idea of giving them not only a quick and easy online presence, monetization platform, and now a useful blogging service is significant. Even though the latest version of Notes is viewable on both the web and mobile versions, it is worth noting that note creation is only restricted to the web version as of the moment.

Of course, one can also opt to bold, underline and italicize text through keyboard shortcuts, albeit missing out on integrated buttons to get the job done.

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