News Feed, one of the three so-called "pillars" of Facebook - alongside Timeline and Graph Search - is the bustling epicenter of the social network. And it's overdue for an overhaul.
In a press invite sent out Friday, Facebook invited us to "Come see a new look for News Feed" on the morning of Thursday, March 7, at the company's Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.
News Feed Needs Some Spring Cleaning
At turns maddening, cluttered and ad-ridden, News Feed is the core of the Facebook social experience. If you click the "Home" button that's where you'll land - and it's certainly where Facebook wants its users to hang out.
Facebook's real-time, algorithm-driven, social ticker is also what makes the social network so confoundingly addictive: When did my college roommate get hitched? Why can't I stop reading about people I haven't spoken to in years and barely knew to begin with?
While Facebook obviously has the hyper-engaged can't-peel-your-eyes-away aspect of News Feed on lock, it's still a confusing, busy page. Managing who and what shows up on News Feed remains a Sisyphean grind.
The News Feed redesign is likely to remove some of the micro-managing necessary to maintain a relevant social stream. Facebook might also rethink the formula that determines what shows up in the News Feed - but better, more centralized controls for sorting and hiding content would also be a good idea.
A (Literal) Stream Of Revenue
The cunningly engineered sense of addictive voyeurism is what powers News Feed - and what drives advertising revenue straight into Facebook's pocket. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Facebook raked in $1.33 billion in advertising revenue - a 41% leap.
The last time Facebook changed News Feed in a major way was back in September 2011, though it aggressively tinkers around with all of its features on a rolling basis.
We know Facebook is playing around with a cleaner, more image-centric Timeline design, so it's possible that the News Feed revamp could follow suit. Rumors are also afloat that a very visual redesign for the mobile News Feed is on the way - and with Facebook's mobile mindedness, we'd expect some news on that front too.
We won't know what the company has up its sleeve for certain until March 7, but we can cling to one certainty - it's not going to be a Facebook phone.
Image by Taylor Hatmaker.