It’s not news, or rather, it has repeatedly made tech news for the past few months, that Facebook had supposedly lost a large number of it’s users, particularly in the teeny bopper age group. Whether it is the sloppy timeline issue, the removal of the thumbs-up “Like” button, or the complaints on the feed full of ads, it seems as though Facebook is doing something every week to tick off users. While discussing the social giant with others, it was consistent that Facebook is the last social network checked on a regular basis by many. Heck, my personal lineup of how I check the latest is: Twitter, Instagram, Designer News, Facebook, Reddit and Pocket. Granted, Facebook is not the last, but if you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have said: Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook seems to have become a network used to simply manage connections and interactions with those you are unable to see or speak to often. Even then, it seems as though their new Messenger app removes the need for the timeline if managing connections is the user’s goal. It’s evident Facebook became a big corporate company, had to make corporate decisions and then realized they were pissing users off and at the same time, became boring. And the last thing you want is your users to not feel engaged.
The good thing is, they acted on it.
Along came Paper. At first when the news of the app came out, I was quite confused as to why Facebook would create an app who’s purpose is essentially just a replica of Flipboard — or so I thought. Upon using it for the first time, I was swiping through the app, saw an added dose of great animations and the ability to view your Facebook notifications and “timeline”, and then it hit me — Timeline. With users feeling bored of their current timeline, weary of their privacy, sick of ads (sorry, “promoted posts”) and feeling disengaged, creating paper was the smartest thing Facebook has done in a long time.
It gives them room to test the waters with a potentially new type of timeline that engages users and gives them options about the content they view on a daily basis; similar to Twitter’s new swipe-between-timelines feature with their latest update. Combining the latest from your friends and family, and allowing you to choose other content you’d enjoy perusing on a regular basis, Facebook provided it’s users a new and engaging way to discover and socialize. Not to mention, it’s ad free (so far). With the use of animations, gestures and a totally different (and delightful) user experience than what we currently have on Facebook, I personally enjoy using Paper so far and will make a full switch from my regular Facebook app.
So if you were a bit hesitant about Paper at first and are a Facebook fan, I’d check it out; because the odds are likely this becomes the new Facebook app at some point.
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Photo Credit: Paul Butler and the Facebook Engineering team.
P.S. Kudos to the Paper design team at Facebook.