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Buzz and Brilliance - Week of September 26

Last week included a veritable avalanche of news about Facebook last week, so I thought this week things would have calmed down a bit. The actual news stopped, but speculation about oversharing and privacy concerns, the effect on businesses and marketing as well as other networks was rampant. Far and away the biggest concern I've seen over Facebook's changes is privacy and oversharing. Changes haven't come yet to pages, other than not having to "like" a page to comment/like posts on it. There will be changes eventually, so it's important to think about how the changes will impact your Facebook page now.

As for individuals, timeline will feel like an invasion of your privacy - it isn't. I've been using it for almost a week now. The switch to the new timeline has prompted many to threaten leaving and, like Mashable, I think that's mostly just talk and no action. But keep in mind that every piece of information was shared with your audience before timeline and the way it was shared hasn't changed. Access to it has changed only in that it's easier to see everything. Ultimately, it's important to remember that each person using any tool on the Web is responsible for protecting their own privacy. Learn how Facebook is implementing frictionless sharing and take steps to avoid sharing what you don't want others to see. And if you want to see comprehensive coverage of privacy concerns, be sure to look at ReadWriteWeb's Facebook coverage.

Have you ever used SlideShare? It's a really great tool for sharing presentations, but it's greatest limitation has been Flash and the effect that has on mobile users. But that's not a problem anymore! They're overhauling the tool with HTML5 and making it much more mobile-friendly. As an iPhone user, I'm excited about HTML5 and what it means for my mobile experience. If you're not familiar with HTML5, that's okay. You'll hear more and more about it as more sites adopt its use to make sites more accessible on all platforms - desktop and mobile. It's about delivering content everywhere in the same way and HTML5 can help if it ever becomes a standard.

Delicious was recently saved and the site got a radical overhaul. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet, but reports about the changes aren't terribly positive. Have you looked yet? Let me know what you think!

A few other snippets of news:

Google+ users can now share circles with followers. I have yet to use this function and I don't know if I will. But for power users, who have key industry people in their circles it could be a great way to put others in touch with those people...maybe. I'm a little on the fence about the value of this since it has potential to open all users up to more spam which is rampant on all social media sites lately.

In other Google news, I'm excited to share that they've finally added real-time updates to the Web version (my iPhone/iPad app has had real-time availability all along), but this is huge news for Webmasters who want to see the robust stats that Analytics provide in real-time.

Quora users are a devoted bunch and now they can use the Q&A tool wherever they are with the new Quora iPhone app. Reviews at this time are mixed, but that's not any big surprise. First versions of apps are rarely packed with the functions users really want/need. I'm sure updates will solve many of the issues it currently has. The important thing is that this is a step in the right direction for them.

There is so much more - I think everyone was trying to get noticed after Facebook overshadowed everything last week. But I don't want this to go too long, so these are the highlights I've picked for this week. Are there any other news tidbits you heard that were interesting?
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Facebook: The updates and the furor - Glad the Facebook redesign helped distract you from everything actually wrong with your lifeYesterday, "English UK" was trending on Twitter. Why? Because masses of people, upset by the latest Facebook updates were advising others to change their language to English UK to go back to the old settings. The first time I saw a tweet, I replied to the tweeter something along the lines of, "Isn't that just delaying the inevitable?" They didn't respond, so I guess they didn't appreciate the point I was trying to make.

I've grown used to the inevitable backlash whenever Facebook does an update. I've even had frustrations with their updates myself. But this one? I actually like what they've done. Okay, the top stories part...that's not my favorite, but you can "train" it to do a better job of picking top stories for you. Besides, in the Web version, I don't find the top stories to be all that cumbersome - mobile is a different story. (Facebook doesn't do mobile well, but I'll save more on that for another post.)

The site, posted SIX stories throughout yesterday blasting Facebook for the latest updates - either by criticizing them or telling users how they can circumvent them. A seventh story covering a feature that hadn't received much attention still took its fair share of digs at the changes. One new feature that's got people in an uproar is the ticker in the top right of the page.

Really? I actually find it's useful. I don't get all these little updates in my newsfeed about who likes what anymore. It's tucked away in the ticker AND I get to see real-time updates that I can click and comment on. And if I don't want to use it? It's really easy to ignore. I really don't see the problem.

The top stories being added to the top of the newsfeed have been the biggest item of controversy in yesterday's change resistance (let's be honest; that's what it is - people HAVE admitted to it). While I've never been a fan of the top stories Facebook chooses, the way it's implemented now gives me a clear way to manipulate what I see.

Facebook enhanced their list functions, but it's still as clunky and un-user-friendly as ever. The smart lists are great, but if you want to build and maintain lists, it's slightly better than creating Twitter lists. As much as I like the filtering capability of lists, I'm not a fan of going through hundreds of people to do it. (Quick side note: Google's circles are just as difficult to manage when you have hundreds in them. The best thing they have going for them is drag and drop.) Speaking of drag and drop, that would have been a great feature for Facebook to add. Alas, they probably didn't want G+ to claim they're copying. So, they made enhancements, but left it in the classic Facebook style for the most part.

  • I like that I can approve tags now.

  • I like that I can share public statuses. (It's important to note that limited statuses are not sharable - has Facebook finally learned its lesson on the importance of privacy?)

  • I like that I don't have to constantly click on the "most recent" link to get to the most recent stories.

What is all the fuss about?

Change. One little word that has huge implications for people. A lot of people don't agree that Facebook is making its interface better. That's a subjective conclusion and it will be different for everyone. I like a lot of what Facebook has done, but I don't think all of it was a homerun. I'm certainly not going to leave as some have threatened.

Here's the fun part: It isn't over. More changes are coming. As for the writer's suggestion that Facebook allow users to convert back and take time to adjust? They've done that before and it doesn't make the transition easier; it just delays it. I say rip the bandaid. People will adjust.

My RSS reader pretty much exploded with Facebook stories today. Here are a few more with slightly less biased views compared to the All Facebook stories above:

Hubze Blog - Hate The New Facebook Newsfeed?

HubSpot - Facebook Enhances Newsfeed and Introduces Ticker

paidContent - With Update, Facebook Is Aiming To Be More Social

GigaOM - Facebook wants to be the newspaper of your dreams

What did YOU think of the latest Facebook changes? If you didn't like them, what is your biggest problem with the update? If you did like them, what's the best part of the update?
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