Feedback Friday: 4 Social Networks Get a Facelift

This week in social media…

As part of a broader reboot that includes a recently redesigned homepage and new social news aggregator, called LinkedIn Today, LinkedIn announced changes this week to Personal and Company pages.

Personal profiles now feature an enlarged headshot (make sure you have a professional, high-res photo); a highlighted Summary area (above your ‘resume’); the removal of Job Title in the upper Brief Overview section; and contact information like email and website now tucked neatly behind a ‘Contact’ button.

Company profiles are getting a makeover too, but are initially rolling out only to select businesses. Look for a new landscape-style company image (similar to Facebook’s Cover image); services, products and job offerings relocated to a right-hand sidebar; details like company size minimized and relocated to the bottom; and an improved news stream that (allegedly) will ensure your content finds “the right members on LinkedIn”. LinkedIn also announced that company pages are included in its mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android. This increases the potential audience for your page, because LinkedIn says 23 percent of its unique visitors use one of its mobile apps.

Bigger profile pictures seem to be the trend. Twitter moved to a larger profile picture that also includes a ‘cutout’ of your avatar (here’s ours for example), and a list of other new features.

  • Expanded Tweets- lets you preview a tweet inside the stream, saving you from clicking through to an article that isn’t what you expected.
  • Tailored trends and suggestions – formerly users with the most clout, are now recommended based on people you already follow.
  • Email Digest- technically launched prior to this week, but emails you stories and news on a weekly, compiled from your interests and activity.
  • Hashtag Pages- still in the works, would help streamline national events and organizations, for example #NASCAR
  • Third Party Content Management- Twitter has capped the number of accounts that can be associated with a third party content management system. Expect to see the CMS and CRMS industry slow.

Smartphone users will get some extra help with mobile searching, because Google has added a small mobile icon next to search results whose sites support mobile browsing. A small change, but one that shows the importance of having a mobile-friendly site. Mobile compatibility increases traffic and user experience.

Facebook rolled out Offers to all business pages that have more than 400 likes. Add Offers from the status update bar and select between In Store Only, In Store and Online, or Online Only. Pages previously relied on third-party apps for coupons and special offers.

An update to the Facebook Messenger app for Android will include a new sidebar that lists your Facebook friends, and the ability to swipe from the left of the screen to bring up your friend list. Facebook has also redesigned the chat window – making it easier to see which friend said what. And the app now brings in text messages that integrate with Facebook messages into one list.

Facebook also released a new app for iPhone and iPad a few weeks ago that is faster to use, and told press similar changes to the Android app “will be ready when it is ready”.

Personally, I’m more interested in how this “news” highlights the odd relationship between social networks and the media machine. Social networks obviously work on much bigger projects (Facebook for example is rethinking its entire photo and mobile strategy)- so these updates are just scraps thrown our way to hold our attention in the short-term. Fair enough. But then we have the media over-reporting and sensationalizing every detail. And throw into the mix online marketers- who start looking for the ROI in a pixel.

I’m not saying these changes won’t make for a better user experience, but let me know when Facebook comes out with something truly life-changing (like answering emails!)