Facebook Starts Letting You Add A 7-Second Looping Video As A Profile Pic

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Don’t Look Now, but Your Facebook Profile Pic … It’s Moving.

Users will soon have a host of new ways to personalize their profiles and control what content is shared on their walls, Facebook announced on Wednesday.The social network is redesigning user profiles beginning Wednesday, and perhaps the biggest change — or the one that promises to be the most entertaining or obnoxious depending on the friend — is that users can now upload a profile video instead of a static photo. The videos loop, and now appear smack-dab in the middle of the profile page (so do profile photos, if you want to stick with something a little more old school).

Your profile picture will be centered on the screen and the entire profile page is being revamped to “better present information about you and your friends in a more visually engaging way,” according to a release from the company. In either instance, the size of the photo or video is now bigger, and there’s a new place to add a short, public bio right below your profile photo.

The biggest departure from the current product, which is now in testing: looping “profile videos” of up to seven seconds that add a new dimension to the design. For starters, user profiles are a popular destination; the company said people visit profiles four billion times each day, so it’s in Facebook’s best interest to keep them fresh and interesting.

It’s a big thing that sounds like a small thing, and it’s big because for the first time, Facebook is asking users to get creative with their profiles. It has also been pushing video content for well over a year, and profile videos give users an easy excuse to keep uploading video and familiarize themselves with the process if they haven’t done so before. The company is also investigating a feature that would allow users to post temporary profile pictures which would revert back to the original after a set length of time. Facebook employees have been making profile videos for a while, and many of them are disarmingly cute: faces surrounded by puppies, peering through bushes, or having their hair blown back by a ridiculous fan. As other networks like Twitter introduce auto-play video like Facebook did, and Snapchat adds animated selfie lenses and its own profile GIFs, Facebook has to stay a step ahead in the graphic arms race.

Facebook’s project manager on the new profile Aigerim Shorman tells me it’s designed to highlight “what’s going on in their life, what’s important to them now in more expressive ways.” The most recent post you shared probably isn’t as useful for understanding your identity as biographical info or photos of you, so Facebook’s pushing that stuff above the timeline. And finally, putting biographical info more front and center could get people to keep this information more up to date, which is critical to powering Facebook’s advertising engine. A similar overhaul of the web profile in 2010 scored Facebook immense amounts of data on where people live, where they went to school, and where they work, which has fueled its ad targeting ever since. And then come photos: instead of the previous small square link, they’re now a full-bleed section unto themselves, where they may now be more easily perused by thirsty randos. (Assuming the photos are public, of course — the box respects your privacy settings.) Facebook gives you control over which photos display here: you can choose to “feature” a handful of them.

And while the company wouldn’t share any data with me, I’m sure that its data showed the majority of times someone looks at your profile, it’s because they want to see pictures of you, find out where you live or work, and see which friends you have in common. (This describes roughly 95 percent of my own visits to profiles.) And yet I wonder if the things Facebook has chosen to highlight about you in its redesigned profile are the things you would choose to highlight about yourself. So we got inspired to create an option to create a profile video.” She insists the Snapchat Profile GIFs that launched in July weren’t even discussed in the feature’s creation. Many of the photos that are taken of us, or that we are tagged in, are not how we would wish to present ourselves to the world. (Facebook would say, just hide those photos using privacy settings!

And I’d say, why does managing my Facebook privacy settings still feel like a part-time job?) A list of our friends is not likely something we would broadcast ahead of our most recent status update, or an article we found interesting, or an interesting place we visited. I asked two Facebook product managers about the decision. “We’re just trying to balance out the information that might be more important to people when they’re visiting profiles,” Aryeh Selekman told me.

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