What Facebook learned about user content

Twitter might have the most activity, LinkedIn the business crowd, but when it comes to social, the king is still Facebook.

With more than 1.3 billion people signed-up to the social network – that’s every sixth person on the planet – it’s a giant in every sense. Facebook is increasingly mobile, with 1 billion users registered on mobile.

Jonathan Colman joined Facebook’s content team last year. His role is less about producing posts on Facebook, but more about writing the architecture and user experience for Facebook. It’s a big job.

He produced a fascinating post as part of Content Marketing Week in Cleveland last week titled, ‘Build Better Content’.

It comes down to three principles:

  1.  Keep it simple – be plain and concise
  2. Get to the point – give enough information for people to decide
  3. Talk like a person – imagine you are talking to your neighbour

When Facebook was growing rapidly, it adopted the phrase ‘Move fast and break things’ to stimulate creative approaches and find better solutions.

Now the juggernaut has trundled on Colman says this no longer works, and the approach is more about refining output to ‘Slow down and fix your/our shit’.

The work revolves around Facebook’s core values, which you could almost think of as brand guidelines:

  • Focus on impact
  • Be open
  • Be bold
  • Build social value
  • Move fast

Colman’s job is to work out elegant ways to take the user through the desktop, and app versions of Facebook. The app version is perhaps the most difficult, with space at a premium on small screens.

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