A push for text
For the first time ever, your news feed may be getting a splash of color. Building on July’s addition of a larger font option for status updates under 35 characters, Facebook is introducing new colored backgrounds for text-only statuses. The feature is rolling out on Android devices initially, but all users will be able to see posts that have had color added. Web and iOS updates to enable the new feature will come soon.
These updates are meant to boost posting of original status updates rather than sharing news articles, viral content, or videos.
In April, The Information put out a report that Facebook saw 21 percent less original content sharing in the first half of 2015 than the previous year. Facebook pushed back on those numbers, saying that both original sharing and published content sharing are both growing.
Throwback To MySpace?
The change may be an attempt to take some ground back from Twitter, which has become to prime destination for sharing short text updates. It is also a call back to the early days of Facebook, before the news eed, when a user’s social page could be customized with different locations for writing updates.
While most users preferred the traditional ‘wall’, other third party apps allowed colorful, alternative ways to share updates. This gave profiles almost as much customization as MySpace pages.
The future Of Facebook
In September, Facebook also updated the feed algorithm to prioritize content shared by friends and family members, rather than professional publishers. This likely was a push to get more original content on feeds. Still, Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly said that he thinks rich media like video (including 360 video and VR) will be the future of sharing on Facebook.
Facebook said in an official update that all users will be able to make their own colorful posts “in the coming months.” For now, over the course of the week, you will likely start seeing colorful posts on your feed, assuming your Android-owning friends choose to use them. I can’t predict if the update will lead to more status sharing, but getting a little bit more brightness on my news feed sounds like a good thing.