Of all the changes and additions Facebook has instituted thus far in its young history, such as the News Feed layout, profile page layout, cover photo addition and auto-play videos, the sneaky increase in characters may have been the most overlooked.
But as content publishing increasingly looms large on other social platforms, such as LinkedIn and the massive success that Medium has been, Facebook is testing an update to its Notes tool and seemingly transforming it into a Medium-like, long-form publishing platform. What does this mean for all of us self-publishers, from independent bloggers to communications pros and thought leaders across the industry?
1. Facebook is growing up. Late to the game as it may be, Facebook gets credit for finally recognizing the value of long-form posts rather than gimmicky eye-catching headlines created for quick clicks. I won’t go so far as to say the click-bait era is over, but hopefully this contribution can be a major step in the right direction.
2. Reporters, journalists and bloggers have a huge syndication opportunity. It might not be thought of as the immediate, first destination for in-depth pieces the same way that other publishing sites (such as Medium or WordPress) are, but the fact remains: Facebook provides an enormous built-in audience. A quick syndication on a company or author’s Facebook page, with a link back to the original source would be of great help. Writers search out audience segments far and wide, and It might turn out that an enormous audience is sitting right in front of them with eager eyes.
3. Detailed data provides more personalization. Facebook has found success in using highly targeted ads to reach consumers. Users’ likes and link clicks within the site create a good picture of that person, but taking a look at his or her written content offers an entirely new dimension. Tags could easily label topics within a post, and the publishers themselves could possibly get more background on who exactly is reading their stories.
The wide release for the new and improved, blog site-inspired Facebook Notes hasn’t been announced yet, but when it launches it will certainly be worth following. The results could signal a change in Facebook’s direction, as well as further acceleration for the long-form writing trend.