Facebook has a little known feature that lets users write full length posts with pictures, formatting and tagging. According to Wired this previously neglected facility is about to get a makeover by the same team that worked on early versions of Medium. The newly designed layout has the same white space feeling with full width banner image, invoking a blogging theme which is far removed from the ubiquitous Facebook status update.
The Independent points out that this is a surprising area for Facebook to invest in, particularly considering the dominance of existing blogging platforms like Tumblr, Wordpress and Medium. Given also that Facebook posts can’t be discovered through a broader internet search it’s journalistic use might on the face of it seem limited. However, perhaps the move is representative of a wider move towards longer form writing, and in turn extended audience engagement? A simple cut and paste means that blogs can be posted to multiple sites, and a post to Notes goes directly to your friends news feeds, guaranteeing a ready made audience.
In an interview with Wired, research analyst Alan Pelz-Sharpe says the blogging format is being revived (particularly amongst teenagers), and this move by Facebook shows a continuing commitment to building its status as a publishing platform;
“Blogging’s one of those odd ones that seems to be trendy again. It was very popular seven, eight, nine years ago. People obviously did carry on blogging, but it sort of went away from the spotlight,” explains Pelz-Sharpe. “It’s actually getting very popular with teenagers again, who are going through that whole journaling move.” That longer-form writing is taking place on the usual suspects, like WordPress and Blogspot and Tumblr and, yes, Medium. But it’s also prevalent in the way teenagers use other popular platforms like Instagram (which, notably, Facebook also owns). Pelz-Sharpe notes—and this Fast Company report from June highlights as well—that high schoolers today use Instagram to stitch together narratives from their lives, rather than post one-off shots of their latest haircut, a digital-age sort of journaling that could hypothetically translate easily enough into the new image-friendly Notes format.