Facebook could be your next long-form blogging site. While the social network has grown into an advertising powerhouse and tool for media outlets to publish and promote their own content, Facebook was founded on personal life updates and connections. Now, the company may be giving personal blogs more of a forefront on the site in a visual upgrade.
Facebook is testing a new design layout for its Notes page, as the Next Web reported. With the update, Facebook users would have access to a blank canvas where they can type a blog. The new format also has a cover image at the top and an enlarged headline. Some other updates from the original format include resizing photos within the post, tagging other Facebook users, and adding links and hashtags.
A small number of users on Facebook’s desktop version are testing the update. “We’re testing an update to Notes to make it easier for people to create and read longer-form stories on Facebook,” a Facebook representative told International Business Times.
— Owen Williams (@ow) August 17, 2015
As the Next Web writes, the proposed design change makes Facebook blogs appear similar to the blog publishing site Medium, launched by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone in 2012. Medium has become a popular tool among celebrity influencers and company executives to release information on product updates or to retort claims. For example, YouTube star Hank Green published a blog charging Facebook with “cheating, lies and theft” in its video policy on Medium. A response by Matt Pakes, a video product manager at Facebook, came from Medium and was endorsed by Facebook's public relations team.
But other members of Facebook’s team, such as CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, have stuck to Facebook as a distribution platform for major life updates. For example, Zuckerberg announced news of his wife’s pregnancy via a 340-word Facebook post and Sandberg reflected on her husband’s death.
The visual redesign would be a major overhaul to a tool that Facebook has barely upgraded since its launch. Currently, Facebook Notes are designed similar to WordPress or the old MySpace system. Both the back end of publishing and then the posting appear similarly, with an emphasis on text and not on images or other visually appealing updates.
The planned update comes at a time when other networks, in addition to Medium, have been pushing their own content-creating and -sharing tools. LinkedIn encourages its community, along with hand-selected influencers, to publish content on its Pulse blog. Several Amazon employees have taken to LinkedIn to share responses to a recent New York Times exposé about Amazon's "bruising" corporate culture. Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington said she wants to add 1 million bloggers to her site by the end of this year.
Facebook already boasts a network of 1.49 billion monthly active users, who now could become longer-form bloggers.