Facebook Is Giving Aussies A New Mini Social Network As An Experiment

Remember how Facebook experimented on people and that sucked? This is kind of the opposite of that: Facebook is releasing a new feature just for us that gives Aussies access to a brand new sidebar and a new kind of secret status update. Suck it, America.

Facebook has redesigned the Sidebar on its official app for Android and iOS, and the new version practically tacks a whole other social network onto your phone.

Previously, Sidebar allowed you to see who was online to chat, but given that the messaging component of Facebook on mobile has been spun out into its own app, that kind of doesn't make sense anymore.

So Facebook went back to the drawing board, and figured out a new way to make Sidebar interesting. What it came up with was a new way for users to share what they're doing.

It's designed to complement the status update by allowing you to share a mini-update on what you're doing, what you're feeling and where it's at. Think of it like a new home for the doing or feeling status updates you see on your News Feed all the time.

Swipe to the right on your Facebook mobile app on iOS or Android this week and you'll find yourself in a new pane full of your best mates. That's where they'll be posting stuff like this:

It gives you a way to add feelings and actions in a bespoke place.

The Sidebar status updates will be segregated from the rest of your Facebook, too. That's what makes this so interesting.

Sidebar status updates can only be accessed and viewed in their special place on the app for Android and iOS, and they won't be shared out to News Feed or visible on your Timeline after they have expired.

Facebook doesn't really know what it will do with the new functionality right now: it's launching the redeveloped Sidebar in Australia and Taiwan to figure out how users react to having a new mini-status update to call their own.

The folks at Facebook who built it told us in an interview this week that the newly redesigned Sidebar experience is designed to supplement the main status updates we post everyday. Basically they want to give users a way to post little things throughout the day about what they're doing and what they're feeling so people can keep in touch.

According to Facebook, catching up on smaller events can make you feel closer to your friends in a big way.

The official Facebook apps for iOS and Android will be updated some time this week, bringing the new functionality with it. Keep an eye out!



    Wow, they're really trying to keep Facebook alive.
    I'm seeing less and less people posting now. They still jump on and check, but no one posts anything or uploads there any more. It just got boring.

    We have Instagram and Snapchat now (and a picture says a thousand words).

      Lots of people are posting, but it's never anything good. My in-her-late-fifties aunty posts a lot of "Find the 8 in the sea of 9s and share" photos, a friend from Guam makes 14 posts a night, mostly articles she's found online, captioned shots from animes or Sherlock stuff, and the rest of the posts on there seem to be "[friend] liked [new page]'s post".

      If Facebook wants to be good again, they should let people change the settings to focus on they want, instead of being shoved towards a "find and share articles online" style thing. That's why I like Instagram, as it's all about the people and what they're doing. Instead of "she paid her restaurant bill. What they did next left me shocked!" posts, you get photos of people's feet at the beach, but it's still better than 90% of what I see on Facebook, even after trimming down my friends list to a small handful.

        The best part of instagram is that it doesn't allow links in posts. Totally nerfs it for sharing crap.

        @brodz64 and @grayda, plenty of people post plenty of stuff. You just never see it because the paid content gets given precedence in your news feed.

      Nearly all my facebook feed is article reposts and instagram posts. It's facebooks own fault for nerfing most recent, technically enough of my friends post updates that I should see it, but instead I just see irrelevant crap, or things posted a month ago that someone liked today because facebook thinks that's what we all want to see.

        I don't know about you, but I always have mine set to Most Recent

          You haven't noticed most recent has been progressively more and more nerfed? Why the shit is someone liking something, or someone commenting on their friend you're not friends with post most recent, and then there are items that don't pop to the top of your feed for days until someone else comments on it? Most recent is just a watered down Top News combined with the side ticker.

    I have one or two friends still posting selfies, a couple that are expressing their love of isagenix and the rest who are either share unoriginal posts from other sources or not posting anything at all.

    Facebook sucks now, messenger is the only real useful part of it.

    This looks good because it's still really important we know exactly what every one of our friends is doing at this very moment all the time.
    F**k's sake.

    Totally agree with everyones comments. People don't post updates on Facebook anymore... my newsfeed is just "Friend XX commented on "Some Random that I have never heard of" post.

    It might be my own mistake, I blocked buzzfeed and a like stories in my newsfeed and my facebook has gone very quiet. I can go two days and still only have 10 new stories to look at.

    I use the FB app almost wholly and solely for one of my special interests (longboarding) now. Aside from that, I cannot stand general posting. Viva la Twitter!

    Sooo... twitter for facebook?

      Have you even been on twitter?

        What it came up with was a new way for users to share what they’re doing. It’s designed to complement the status update by allowing you to share a mini-update on what you’re doing, what you’re feeling and where it’s at. Think of it like a new home for the doing or feeling status updates you see on your News Feed all the time.

        Sounds exactly like how everyone I know seems to use Twitter. That, and re-tweeting news headlines or pithy bòn móts.

    This reminds me of story's on Snapchat... Actually a really good idea by FB..
    Any word on a windowsphone app release though?? *one can only hope*

    Reminds me of the old MSN Messenger status "updates"...

      Ahh, the passive aggressive song lyrics written LiKe tHiS! Or was that just me?

    This would fall in line with the auto update Facebook did to me this morning externally from the Play Store. I reported a breach of policy to Google, so I'd laugh if the app was banned again.

    Edit: Also mods, why are my comments always under moderation?

    Last edited 16/04/15 12:40 pm

    I haven't used the FB app for a long time. If FB wants to tempt me back, they can allow me to set 'most recent' as my default instead of forcing 'top stories' down my throat. Until they do that. I'm not interested.

    Signed out and then back in on iOS app and it appeared.

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