Facebook revamps notes and wants you to write more

By Fahim Zapoh on
September 28, 2015
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Well, alright. It never went away to begin with. Notes, the long forgotten Facebook feature that let users share longer thoughts has been lurking in the dark corners of the social network. Mostly overlooked because of more evolved blogging platforms like Medium and Tumblr. But Facebook thinks its now time to bring it back so it has decided to revamp notes with new design and features.

Before we discuss the new features, let us ask why has Facebook after all decided to bring Notes back into the game.

One reason as explained by 451 research analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe is Facebook is looking in to key demographics that they are not doing so well, one of the key areas is teens. And according to Pelz-Sharpe teens are blogging. “[Blogging] was very popular seven, eight, nine years ago. People obviously did carry on blogging, but it sort of went away from the spotlight,” explains Pelz-Sharpe. “It’s actually getting very popular with teenagers again, who are going through that whole journaling move.”

Facebook knows that its precious audience is leaving its site to write (and consume) long-form to the likes of Tumblr, Blogger and the latest to the addition, Medium — and Facebook will fight tooth and nail to stop that.

Another reason that makes sense for Facebook to revamp Notes is to increase engagement. By stopping its audience from going elsewhere to consume content and pushing long-from content via Instant Articles, Facebook gets to keep its user locked in which means the more they write stuff, the more they read, and the more they spend time on News Feed looking at their ads, and consequently more revenue for Facebook.

Yet another reason as pointed out by Pelz-Sharpe is that Notes makes Facebook’s data much richer to mine. As one would obviously share more information in an essay than a short status update.

Facebook decided to go about doing all this by hiring the team that worked on Medium’s prototype and final product. Teehan + Lax announced they would be joining Facebook this January. And unsurprisingly the similarities between their products are striking.

The new Notes boasts, much like Medium, a crispy font that appears to want nothing but to sit in front of your eyes and be read, a full width cover image and objects sparsely placed on screen to make it feel less cramped.

Here is a pictorial comparison of the new and the old interface.

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And here is what Medium’s interface looks like.

medium-article-page-with-image

Facebook is also testing new ways to share your content with people along with improvements in re-sizing photos and adding hashtags to Notes.

Image sources: Notes and Medium

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