Three Facebook Improvements

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This post is about improving FB.  Because nothing is more important than a user of a free service complaining about the free service, emirate?

  1. Bring back the $#@!$ “reply” button.  Not so long ago, FB had a button for posting replies.  You could make a comment as long as you want, multiple paragraphs, and then hit “reply”.  They got rid of this so that the “return” key entered your reply.  You get around this by typing “shift-return” to make new paragraphs.  Their stated goal of this was that they wanted to keep replies short, and that if you wanted to do long form things, you should use the “note” feature of FB.

    But this feature (notes) is now gone.  You can type any length post you want.  You should be able to type any length reply you want without having to resort to DOS-style escape sequences on the keyboard. And, well, if you use FB on mobile, you don’t have this instant “enter to post comment”.  You have a “reply” button.

    FB, at least make the reply by hitting “enter” a mode that you can opt out of, mmmkay?

  2. As FB has differentiated itself from Twitter by allowing long-form posts the norm, they’ve essentially made FB into the kind of tool I use it for – as a blogging tool.  FB really is a great initroductory blogging tool, because its comes with an immediate audience (your friends).  You don’t have to get them to “subscribe” to anything new which they may or may not ever go to.  Since it is a blogging tool, let’s add things to it that blogging tools have.  Namely, formatting.  We should have the ability to put in our posts bold, italic, bulleted lists, numbered lists, etc.  It doesn’t have to be a full on blogging platform, with images you can embed with text wraps, etc., but it can at least have some of this.  I know, and I know many others, who end up doing things like putting asterisks around words to indicate emphasis, or all caps for a couple of words, etc.  And you can find online thingies that will allow you to take text and make it strike-through that you can post on FB.

    I also think this will greatly enhance the “Pages” feature.  People like to use pages to promote their business, but they still end up having a separate blog somewhere.  If you had incredibly rich formatting capability, maybe a company would decide just to use Pages and not carry another blog around.  Wouldn’t that be beneficial to you, FB?

    Let’s go ahead and add some formatting capability.  And, like with the shift-enter thing, the option to format can be “off” by default.

  3. Links… Oh, links.  We can improve this.  On posts, when you type something in that is a link, FB immediately tries to get that link and have it show up below your post while you are still typing, so that way you can see what is on your wall.  But, it only does that for the first link you type.  Any other links just stay as links.  How about you do that for all links, and you do it inline?  You can still take the first link and have it be the headline link/picture that shows up on the wall, but if you can do this link expansion with a single link, why not all others?  I think it will make wall posts better – just like formatting would.

    And while we are on the topic of links, let’s do this link expansion (and multiple link expansion) on comments, too.  As of now, links don’t expand until you finish posting your comment, and again, only for the first link.  And since the expansion happens at the end, I know I invariably type a comment with “check out the link at the end”.

    Oh, and one other concept around links, that dovetails in with formatting.  How about you can make any word in your post a link, instead of having the link show up as an gobbledegook http string.  That would make links a little easier to read, many people understand what a link is anyway.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts.  What do you all think?

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