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#Facebook Rejuvenates #Blogging Feature Called #Notes

Facebook used to have a blogging feature called Notes, but it was buried in the interface when Timeline launched in 2011 and left to languish. In 2012, Medium was launched by Twitter cofounders Ev Williams and Biz Stone and gained steam to become the place for casual bloggers and journalistic experiments. Compared to Twitter’s 140-character bursts, Medium was a platform for something meatier. It focused on simplicity – a ‘what you see is what you get’ publishing tool with no gratuitous formatting to distract you from your words. A year later there was the $1.1 billion blockbuster deal between Yahoo and microblogging platform Tumblr.

Facebook needed to wake up if it wanted to stay in the blogging game. The internet was ready to blog, but people didn’t want to set up a whole custom website to do it. Notes has long been overlooked, partly because it is buried in Timeline’s crowded ‘More’ dropdown menu, sandwiched between the bookmarks for Reviews and Instagram. It was a place where people could post embarrassing Q&As about themselves, and not much else. There was no hint of personalisation except for a few basic formatting tools and photo embedding – no videos or Gifs, fundamentals on Tumblr. When you published a Note, it went public on the news feed, but lived in a section buried under a long list of third-party apps. Compare that to Tumblr, where there’s a rich choice of customisation options and the ability to embed most kinds of media. Posts are shared with your Tumblr followers, and, unlike Facebook notes, they don’t have to compete with other types of content on the dashboard.

Now, Facebook is testing a design update to Notes which answers the call for a much slicker and simpler blogging tool, adding full-width images without cluttered sidebars and a bigger text size that sets it apart from a normal post. It also allows for big, eye-catching cover images like the ones on Facebook profiles.
Here’s an example of the old Notes design:

Compare with the new, more professional-looking design (without the awkward sidebar):

The full-width cover images are similar to those on Medium:

There’s still no option to embed videos or Gifs, but you can tag people in your posts. There are no ads, which is an improvement on most free blogging giants like Wordpress. The question is whether Facebook will put the power of the news feed behind Notes. Medium relies on Twitter for distribution, while Tumblr still has a niche feel due to its fandoms and NSFW content. People who use Facebook already have an audience, so they will publish there. It’s similar to how Facebook used autoplay clips in the news feed to invade video sharing. You can share a Facebook Note’s link just like a Medium link, but you’ll get extra eyes on Facebook just by using its platform. If Facebook can make the in-site experience of reading Notes better than clicking out to read a blog on another blogging site, then it may be one step closer to taking over the Internet.

Aaron Waterhouse

Aaron is a recent English graduate from Durham University who is now working as a content writer intern. An enthusiastic traveller, he hopes to become a journalist and report from around the world. Follow him @AaronAtSMF.

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#Facebook Rejuvenates #Blogging Feature Called #Notes Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, August 31, 2015 Rating: 5

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