I wanted to test the new Timeline for Facebook brand pages, so I published the new layout for Metropolia Career Services page on Monday 5.3.2012. Here are my first impressions of the reform, few pluses and minuses.

2012-3-6 Facebook, Metropolia Career Services, not logged in

Photo 1. Not logged in you can easily see the addresses for other applications.

2012-3-6 Facebook, Metropolia Career Services, Timeline logged in

Photo 2. Logged in the posts by others replace the addresses for other applications.

Pluses

  1. You have a big Cover photo.
  2. Your description that used to be in a small box, now has more space, so you can see the whole text at once. Before you had to click “more” to see everything.
  3. You can see addresses for the other applications on the front page when you’re not logged in.
  4. You can pin one post on top of the Timeline for a week.
  5. You can highlight posts across the Timeline.

Minuses

  1. The most important content on Metropolia Career Services page –  job offers posted by employers and recruiters – is less visible now in their own separate box. If I’d like to attain the same visibility for the job offers as before, I should re-post them. (Students’ posts with eg links to their CVs would be equally important, but so far they haven’t used that option.)
  2. The loss of visibility for my customers (employers, students, partners) makes our relationship appear less equal than before, which is quite the opposite of what the optimal use of social media should be about. Now it’s again the brand shouting its message instead of discussing and listening.
  3. With the zigzag style of the Timeline, it’s difficult to see the cronology of the posts anymore.
  4. The layout is restless with different size boxes and big empty spaces.
  5. There’s lots of light blue on the sides – I liked the white better.

Summary

There seems to be equal quantity of good and bad changes with the new Timeline, but the quality of some of the bad changes is graver.

While you can have different opinions about the esthetics of the layout and colouring, the new imbalance between the brand and its customers is a serious structural and functional flaw.

With the Timeline reform Facebook has lost most of the one advantage it had over Google+: brand pages that really enable discussion with customers engagingly and on equal basis – which should be the essence of any media tool that calls itself social.

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Related:

Facebook: Metropolia Career Services

Mashable: Facebook Timeline for Brands: The Complete Guide (1.3.2012)

On second thought: Google+ vs. Facebook Pages – Who’s Got The Initiative? (9.11.2011)

On second thought: Google+ Circles – Talking vs. Listening (17.7.2011)

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Edit 10.3.2012: Statistics on Google url shortener goo.gl/dnxlN+

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