Fall is in the air; and if the season’s changing, that means it’s time for annoying changes to Facebook’s layout. Sure they tell you a tiny bit about the new changes, but they never reveal the important things you need to know. But I will — here we go:
The main news feed now combines the previously separate “Recent News” and “Top Stories”. Top Stories will appear first, followed by everything else. Top Stories can easily be identified by a blue triangle in the upper left corner. On the right side of the page, where a lot of the annoying stuff used to appear, is “The Ticker”. This is probably where most of the stuff you’re used to seeing appears. Let’s look at each these parts individually. Of course there’s some secret algorithm to determine what’s a “Top Story”, but I think most of it depends on how you’ve classified and grouped your contacts, as well as your past interaction with them. As you classify (and declassify) items as Top Stories, FB should get better at making those determinations. I said “should”.
Top Stories: When you hover over the upper right corner of a Top Story, a menu will be available. Click the menu button to re-classify that story, and also choose additional settings for that person (such as seeing all of their updates vs. only ‘top’ updates).
The Ticker: Once you realize that everything that used to be in the old feed is now in the Ticker, breathe a sigh a relief, and get ready to do a lot of scrolling. There are some cool things in here too, once you realize how it works. First, the Ticker is scrollable (as indicated in the image at the left). Hover over an item in the Ticker and you can grab the scrolling tool and see all the glorious posts you’ve missed. Or if you have a mouse w/a scroll wheel, just hover anywhere over the Ticker and use your scroll wheel to scroll the list.
One of (the only?) cool features in the Ticker is how it reveals more information about the update. For example, if you hover over an update that says “Keith commented about clowns”, a pop-up will review the post (or photo or whatever) that Keith commented on, so you can give your two cents as well. No more navigating back and forth between pages and losing where you were in reading your updates.
One interesting ‘feature’ of the Ticker is that the scroller gets tinier as you scroll further and further down your feed. Also once you go past a certain point, a handy link will appear at the top of the Ticker that immediately takes you back to the top of the list. Both of these features are indicated in the graphic to the left.
There you go. This isn’t everything that’s been changed, but it should bring some relief that you won’t be missing any important news. I wonder if my link to this post will appear as a “Top Item” on everybody’s feed?
P.S. If you use Fluff Busting Purity, you’ll need to update it to work with the new layout.
P.P.S. Thanks to those whose fabulous status updates appear in the graphics. I pixellated the names to protect the innocent. (Innocent? bwa ha ha ha ha ha!)
UPDATE (9-21-2011 11:45am EDT): People have been asking if you can hide the Ticker. I don’t think so, but the best alternative I can find is if you maximize your browser window, and enable FB chat, the ticker will be integrated in the chat tool, instead of on your page. There is also button that will be available to hide the sidebar, but when clicked, the Ticker goes back to its original location (see the graphic at left). If you don’t like the Ticker, be patient, I’m sure the capable programmer of Fluff Busting Purity will provide a way to hide it very soon.