The biggest loser in the recent Facebook changes is small business. Many of you were relying on Facebook as a free platform where you could develop a loyal community of fans that might “like” and “share” and “comment” in the hopes that others would see and do the same, and ultimately be converted into a regular customer. Facebook has just made that harder for you, especially if you are new to the platform, have under 500 or so fans, and are not an advertising partner. There’s a lot of great information out there explaining the new changes including this basic piece from Mashable. It’s going to be important to get past the inconvenience of change and look at what opportunities and obstacles it presents.
So why is small business the Biggest Loser? If you look closely at the changes, you will notice that they are designed to benefit two important groups (to Facebook): developers and enterprise level advertisers. What the “open graph” does, in the form of the new timeline, is encourage everyday users to post more information about themselves and connect to friends’ information on a level that we haven’t seen before.
But, remember all that information is available to advertisers and developers through Facebook’s open graph. Facebook is encouraging large advertising partners to pinpoint key influencers and their communities and begin to develop specialized “experiences” for those communities. Developers can put together applications (which is another big emphasis) that encourage users to share even more information around a common experience and spend more internet time connected to Facebook. Users will be able to watch movies, TV, listen to music, get the news, book a trip, buy a product, and play games without ever having to leave Facebook.