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Facebook Notes – The Future of Blogging?

22 October 2015

A friend recently mentioned to me that Facebook Notes received an overhaul, to which my response was “What is that exactly?” And if you’re wondering the same, then you’ve come to the right place.

What is Notes

Notes started off in 2006 as a means of publishing larger posts or status updates, because back in those days you were limited in your use of characters, much like we still are in Twitter today. Status updates were limited to 160 characters, but continued to increase, with notable milestones being 5,000 in September 2011 and then to a mammoth 60,000 in December 2011.

Though a good idea at the time, Notes was extremely limited and not widely known, and with status update lengths being increased, there wasn’t really any reason for the average user to take advantage of the feature. But last month it received an update which added a host of new options, and it looks like it will be looking to compete against the major blogging platforms.

And with good reason. If we just look at one blogging platform, WordPress, we see that over 409 million people view more than 19.4 billion pages each month. And businesses profit from that activity, because according to Hubspot 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly. Blogging, if done correctly, can drive a huge amount of traffic to your site, which can convert into sales leads.

New to Notes

So how did Facebook improve Notes?

Notes - Updated

The new Notes – shown here for mobile and desktop

  • You can now add a cover image
  • You can caption and resize photos
  • Various rich text formatting options are now included, such as adding bullets, quotes and headers.

These new additions don’t sound like much, but when compared to how these posts looked previously, you can see it’s been improved immensely.

OldNotes

The older version of Notes – still available on mobile

Getting Started

Finding Notes

Finding Notes – Business Page on the left, personal profile on the right

Finding Notes:

  • Personal Profile (desktop) – Head to your profile , and look for the “About” section in the menu section. A drop-down list will appear, with the link to Notes appearing at the bottom.
  • Business page (desktop) – Click on the “More”  button in your menu and a drop-down will also appear, again with Notes appearing towards the end.
  • Desktop – You can also use this direct link to get there.
  • Mobile (iPad) – This was easy. On my personal profile I could simply scroll sideways through my profile ons till I found Notes. Though strangely I could only view my written notes and not create any new ones. To create new notes, I had to search for “Notes”, and editing options were limited.
  • Mobile (Android phone) – Bit more difficult than the tablet, had to tap on “About”, scroll down to “Notes”. Again, I only had the ability to view my existing notes. Search function gave me access to the app so that I could write new notes.

 

Please reference the official Help section for Notes here.

Why Use Notes?

  • Facebook is a massive social media platform and gives you access to a large audience, providing you have the right content.
  • With that comes the ability for users to Like, Comment and Share on any notes you publish.
  • Notes give you the ability to tag people, groups or companies on Facebook.

 

Limitations

  • It doesn’t support GIFs or any form of video.
  • The mobile apps don’t have the new features yet, such as the rich text editor, so creating content on desktop is preferable.
  • The new formatting features does not apply to business pages.
Old Notes

Old Notes. Not that great.

 

So while Facebook seems to be heading in the right direction, Notes does need a bit more work. We’d love to see the new features carry over, especially to Notes for business pages. Luckily there is a large variety of alternative blogging platforms such as: WordPress, Tumblr, Medium and Blogger. And various people are comparing the look and feel of Notes specifically to Medium, and there is a reason for that.

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams developed Medium together with Canadian design firm Teehan+Lax back in 2012. In January of this year it was announced that the partners (and other specific staff members) of Teehan+Lax would be joining Facebook, with the firm itself shutting its doors. So did they take over the redesign of Notes? Definitely not, according to former Teehan+Lax partner, Geoff Teehan.

Facebook took an existing (but under-utilised) feature, and expanded it from a simple post editor to a mini blogging platform, seemingly to compete with popular blogging platforms. It mirrors their huge push to promote their own video content to rival YouTube, which had amazing results. Facebook’s plan is to simply keep users on Facebook by competing in every content category it can.