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Monday, April 22, 2024

Facebook plans more alterations

There are more than 800 million active users on Facebook.com. With over 50 percent of them logging on daily, it would seem Facebook is heading in the right direction. However, Facebook is planning on making changes in the upcoming weeks that have brought about mixed feelings, including adjusting the entire layout of users’ home pages.

A couple weeks ago, Facebook changed the format of users’ home page by adding a “Ticker” on the side. Users see second-by-second updates from their friends.

The upcoming changes include a makeover of your profile page to a new format called “Facebook Timeline.” Your profile will go from one central column to two, with boxes of text, photos, videos and even maps of your favorite locations.

Also added will be a “Cover photo” and a “Timeline,” which will show the memories of your choosing. These changes are likely to happen sometime in the middle of this month.

Facebook has not stated why it is making these changes, leaving everyone to come up with their own theories.

“They want to be more than a social networking site,” said Communication Department Chair George Barnett. “They want to be a homepage like Google is.”

One other possible reason for Facebook’s changes is due to the rise in competition of social networking site Google+, which has drawn more than 10 million users since starting up in June.

Barnett thinks that these changes could be the beginning of the end of Facebook’s dominance.

“It’s going to get too complicated,” he said.

A regularly rumored and denied change is that Facebook will start charging per month to use the site, which would put users in limbo in deciding whether or not to keep their profiles.

“I definitely wouldn’t use it [if it starts charging],” said senior biological sciences major Ritika Sharma. “Most people I talk to are my friends anyway.”

By charging monthly, Facebook could put itself at risk of losing many users.

“They don’t have a good business model,” Barnett said. “They are trying to figure out other ways to make money.”

The latest rumor of the site charging shortly came to an end. The site posted on its own Facebook page last week that, “We have no plans to charge for Facebook. It’s free and always will be.”

The rumors and descriptions of the new changes have brought mixed feelings from the Facebook world.

“If it changed dramatically I don’t think I would use it,” Sharma said.

Senior genetics major Matt Forrester feels differently.

“I don’t mind the changes,” he said. “It’s a new site every time I go on it.”

Facebook might be digging into users’ lives more than they realize. For example, with the new “Timeline,” every time one logs onto a news website through their profile, each article that they read on that website shows up on their profile page.

Despite the major changes, it is expected that user numbers will continue going up, leaving the unanswered question of why people continue using the network.

“We are social animals in a very individualizing society,” Barnett said. “There’s not a lot of social connection due to job mobilization.”

Barnett said he believes that since people don’t stay in the same place their whole lives, they resort to social networking to keep in contact.

ZANDER WOLD can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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