Facebook have released their new standalone App called “Paper“, it appeared n the iTunes store in the U.S. yesterday and has already leapt up the charts into the top 5 Apps.
The premise behind this new venture is the creation of a visually lead, image rich Newsfeed that is user-customisable to spread Stories.
Not all the content is pulled from Facebook itself, but also from partner companies leading to a richer, more diverse user experience that is focusing on content discovery and proliferation, not just passive observation.
To me, this smacks a little of Google+ (of which I am a huge advocate). In my opinion Google+ is a social network aimed at discovery and enrichment, helping its users organically experience new content based on their interests. It encourages the development and nurturing of new relationships between those with similar interests through Communities and a simple, yet powerfully individualised sharing system. Compare this to Facebook where the content originates from those people you already know (or at least “Facebook know”). So where Google+ users are encouraged to be active in expanding their network, Facebook users, on the other hand, tend to be far more passive. How many of us have whizzed through our newsfeeds, simply because there is nothing better to do while we wait for the kettle to boil, not necessarily engaging with the stories, but merely observing them?
So perhaps this latest app from the social giant is aimed at shifting that, to encourage users to engage more with stories by focusing on the visual aspect of the experience, as well as the customisable panels which allow you to filter stories by category. Pushing more towards discovery and expansion, rather than just observation and commentary.
The app also seems a little similar to the blog collator Feedly, which brings feeds from user selected resources into one location for ease of browsing and discovery, in an intuitive and visually appealing manner.
Another aspect that arose during discussion of Facebook Paper were the rumours that the demographic for Facebook has shifted, and the teens aren’t using it so much anymore, it’s not so cool when your Mum is on there! This new app is arguably more aimed at the older age groups, certainly when you look at the branding and messaging attached to it’s promotion which shows expectant mothers, and sunset lovers.