This afternoon, I took a little light mockery from a friend for posting a Facebook update that looks like this:
He had assumed I was algorithm-gaming by posting my update as an image, not text. But I wasn’t. Instead, while making the post, I’d discovered a button in the interface I hadn’t had access to before:
This stirred a distant memory: it was announced and rolled out on Android back in December:
Colored status backgrounds are rolling out globally over the next few days. Only Android users will be able to create them, but everyone on iOS, Android, and web will be able to see them in the News Feed.
A spokesperson writes “We’re rolling out a change to help people make their text posts more visual. Starting today, people can update the background color of their text-only posts on Android.”
The Android experiment was clearly successful enough that the rollout is slowly happening to the web – some of my friends have it, others don’t. And it certainly gives short text updates more “oomph” in the feed, without being as ugly as the “huge font” short updates were. Using colours is a smart move, both through being eye-catching and because they’re emotionally resonant, which is the secret to making anything work in the feed.
But will it be enough to get people sharing personal information again?