Facebook Notes: Bigger than Prince, or too little too late?
The world’s most popular- or at least most visible- social network is about to roll out an update to a feature most people didn’t even know existed. So what’s the point?
Exactly why Facebook has ignored its Notes function for so long is something of a mystery. Although difficult (nay, potentially impossible) to monetise, meaning prioritising other areas of user accounts makes sense, this feature has plenty of potential. Don’t worry if you’ve been blissfully unaware until now, what follows is a crash course in exactly what we’re talking about.
What are Notes?
Notes can be found in the ‘More’ dropdown panel on your profile page. That’s the same place things like ‘Videos’, ‘Places’, ‘Sports’ and ‘Music’ are located. Hidden towards the bottom of these options, given the way most people use Facebook, it’s unsurprising this has long been overlooked.
Nevertheless, Notes could make for a nice addition to your social activity. Like a micro-blogging platform, we can write whatever words we feel like, augment those with nice pictures, and hit the ‘Publish’ button. Hey presto, you’ve published a page that can then be shared with the community, on any subject you want to start a conversation about.
Why does it exist?
In many ways, Notes is the Facebook goal personified. Rather than having users create content on external blog sites- for example WordPress- this offers the option of doing exactly the same thing, but without leaving Facebook itself. Facebook wants to store the entire internet in its URL, hence the increasingly powerful (but still frustrating) internal search engine that can garner results from the web, not just the network itself.
What changes are being made?
The amendments are largely aesthetic- the idea presumably being to make the Notes pages more appealing for people to click on. A cover photo can be added to each page, making it easy to see what the words are all about, pictures can be resized, text formatted (i.e. italic, bold, and underlined), and headers, subheaders, bullet points and quotes can now also be included. Take a look:
What are the drawbacks
To summarise what could be a long list of gripes, Notes are severely limited in comparison with more sophisticated blogging platforms. There’s an absence of spellcheck, for example, which means amateur or inexperienced scribes may struggle to pen something that reads professionally. Add to this the removal of options to insert any number of images into any part of the page, which the old Notes offered, and things begin to look a little, err, inflexible.
Should we be using it?
How long is a piece of string? Like anything digital, brands need to consider where and who the audience is. If there’s a large Facebook following then it may make sense to experiment with Notes, although given the drawbacks noted above, we wouldn’t recommend relying on this as your primary blogging platform. As a supplement to content created off-Facebook, though, it could come in useful.