Facebook adds “Notes”, a basic blogging tool

Hot on the heels of their API release, Facebook has just added “Notes” to their service. It’s a basic blogging/journal entry platform, allowing users to write entries about anything they wish. (Most entries will probably boil down to the mundane) It seems like Facebook is responding to users’ suggestions, and adding the features they want in an effort to better keep them happily on the service, rather than forcing users to rely on another service’s blogging tools to share their thoughts.

There are already many blogging services out there, with most of them more fully-featured than Facebook’s Notes service, so what makes this significant? Well, first of all, Facebook basically has a monopoly on the university and college social networking scene, so the addition of any service carries some relevance right away. Furthermore, they’ve added an RSS import feature, allowing users with existing blogs to syndicate/re-display their blog entries in Facebook Notes with ease. Most online blogging services already include feeds, so this step should be compatible with most services existing user are already on, and it provides a nice transition path. Furthermore, imported feeds include a link back to the original site, providing an incentive for users wanting to increase traffic back to their site.

What’s even better is that you can easily add tags to an entry, describing who the entry relates to. The field for this has been nicely enhanced with Ajax, so as you type a list of matching friends pops up, to facilitate autocomplete. You can also see a list of Note entries that were tagged with your name. One of the things Facebooks is really good at, is helping people find other people with similar interests, and this is possible because of the great use of metadata they’ve undertaken. Tagging entries is just another way they’re improving this.

One thing some people are worrying about is that this might be seen as a signal that Facebook is moving towards MySpace in terms of how they want people to use the site, with more and more customized user content. One thing that has thankfully separated Facebook from MySpace is the lack of user-customizable layouts and colours on profiles. MySpace’s liberal allowances for user-customized profiles has resulted in blatantly awful sites that combine the worst colour combinations with site-stretching pictures and horrible embedded sounds and music, making it look worse than the Geocities of the late 90’s. Let’s hope Facebook keeps the layout rigid and clean, so that it’s possible to browse the site without losing your eyes.

One Comment »

  1. All the Ridgid Tools you will ever need…

    Now we are half way there and this week we headed off to DCU to meet Prof Niall Moyna (absolute Oracle of all Fitness Performance Measurements in Ireland)! Both Susan and James were put through their paces not in the outdoors this time but on a treadmi…

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