social media

A cuppa media: On Paper, a test for Facebook

Written by Alex Veeneman

This week is a particularly significant week for Facebook, as it today celebrates its tenth birthday.

This week is a particularly significant week for Facebook, as it today celebrates its tenth birthday. Created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg in a dormitory room on the campus of Harvard University in the US state of Massachusetts, it is commonly known of the social network’s influence on the whole of the world of social media.

This week, Facebook unveiled a new iOS app called Paper, which would, according to the statement from the social network that described the new app, make “storytelling more beautiful with an immersive design and full screen, distraction-free layouts. We’ve also made it easier to craft and share beautiful stories of your own.”

It was unveiled Monday for users in the United States, but at this writing it is unclear when it would be made available for users in the UK.

On Paper, a challenge

The app provides a different experience for users in comparison to traditional desktop and mobile environments, and for the moment, it is ad free, but according to a report from the US technology news web site TechCrunch, Facebook is looking into ways to integrate them in future versions of Paper.

The aim will be to categorise specific posts, so whether if you want to hear about news, there’s a section for that, with posts from news pages like the BBC, or if you want news on a specific sport, there is a section for that as well, with posts on events like transfer deadline or the NFL Super Bowl competition.

For Facebook, introducing this new app is the attempt to try to prove its relevance in the social media world amidst a number of competitive factors, from advertising on mobiles to the increase in other features from other social networks, particularly Twitter.

Not done just yet

Although Facebook still has an advantage over other networks, and continues to rank among the top social networks that are used on a daily basis, it will continue to face tests to ensure its relevance for another ten years, and Zuckerberg and his colleagues in Palo Alto, California are putting out for all to see, on Paper.

More of these may come, as Paper comes from a small team known as Facebook Creative Labs, designed, according to the TechCrunch report, to create standalone mobile experiences, an initiative Zuckerberg announced to test separate experiences instead of making additions directly to the Facebook app itself (users had reportedly expressed frustrations with a number of changes that had been made directly to Facebook, which has raised questions as to whether users would still click onto the site with these features  in mind).

Ten years on, Zuckerberg’s Facebook may still retain the crown as the top social network of all time. Yet, the world of social media is one that evolves rapidly. Facebook may be put to the test with Paper, as observers wonder whether it will be liked by American users.

Still, the message on Paper is clear—Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are here to stay in the world of social networking, and aren’t clicking exit just quite yet.

What do you think? Would you download Facebook’s new app when it became available in the UK? What do you think is the future of Facebook as a social network? Have your say in the comments section below.

Image: Facebook press web site