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March 18, 2013

March Madness is upon us! Unfortunately for me, no one here cares. Basketball is not that big in Holland, which is shocking, considering how ridiculously tall the Dutch are. Back home in Canada, this is an exciting time for my family. My parents are searching Google for tips on filling out their bracket choices, hitting up Costco for snacks, and mostly likely sporting Duke University hats. Ahhhh home.

But, luckily for me, I have another kind of madness to keep me entertained. Facebook Madness 2013!

The release of Facebook Graph Search kicked things off early in the year. It’s been exciting employers and recruiters everywhere with Facebook Graph Search’s promise of a much more selective way to search for talent and greater access to passive candidates. Also, over the past few months, Facebook timeline has been shifting and changing. Okay, so that hasn’t been super exciting — hiding maps under a “More” tab isn’t exactly madness… but I digress!

Now Zuckerburg has revealed FB’s plans for a completely re-vamped Facebook News Feed. Madness!

Whenever Facebook rolls out new changes, we get a little freaked out. Which is pretty frustrating considering FB shakes up their UI as often as Dennis Rodman dies his hair (yes, all of my basketball knowledge comes from the movie Space Jam). And, as with Rodman’s ever-changing coif, those changes can be awesome, but they can also be just plain scary for Facebook recruiting and branding. Before we go into the pros and cons of the News Feed’s new look, let’s go over just what those changes are going to be.

The five main changes :

1. Mobile – We all know that compatibility with mobile is no longer optional. More and more of Facebook’s active users are accessing the network through smart phones and tablets and Facebook is finally starting to make mobile a priority. Yay! The updates to News Feed put “mobile-first”, taking user interface cues from Facebook apps and emphasizing consistency between mobile and desktop interface.

2. Bigger Images – Another mobile-inspired change is the shift towards making images the main focus. Photos will dominate the latest version of Facebook News Feed, as they are now much larger and make up 50% of News Feed Stories. This is most likely inspired by the rising popularity of image-driven apps like Instagram, Pinterest and even Google+.

3. Less Text – More emphasis on images means less emphasis on text, which means text updates will become much less effective, if not obsolete. Facebook is also getting much more strict with it’s 20% text in images rule. This means a severe limit to “call to actions” and an end to “price and purchase info” embedded in images. It is another attempt by Facebook to have a cleaner, more elegant overall look and feel.

4. Multiple Feeds – Users will now have the option to choose certain “sub-feeds” that they would like to view more often. For example, users can choose to view more posts by “close Friends” than other friends (Google+ circles anyone?!). This will reduce clutter and make it easier for users to keep up to date with the content that matters most to them. These changes address increasing complaints by Facebook users that they are missing interesting updates due to an over-saturation with irrelevant content.

5. Chronology – Another way in which the changes to News Feed aim to quell user complaints is by displaying more content chronologically, with less reliance on edge-rank algorithm (a fancy term for Facebook guessing at what you want to see!)

Obviously these changes will make a huge impact on how employers will use Facebook to recruit and promote their brands. But the degree to which your strategy will have to change depends on what your current strategy is. If you are already running ad and sponsored story campaigns, and focusing on quality images, then big kudos! If not, then these changes may be a hassle, but they’re also a reason to revamp and improve how you use Facebook. This is always a good idea if you want to stay ahead of the competition.

Next week we’ll go over some pros and cons of the revamped Facebook News Feed, how to tweak your Facebook recruiting to make it work for you, and why Steve Nash is awesome and you should Like him on Facebook. Wait… he’s not in Spacejam! Disney really should release a new edition with him CG’d in.

Enjoy March Madness!