Facebook Notes: The Medium is the Message

by • October 2, 2015 • Comments (0)

Facebook just expanded its media services by launching an updated version of Notes.

Although the launch release for the newly revamped Notes does not use the phrase, “blog platform,” that’s exactly what it is. Basically, Facebook cleaned up its old Notes feature to offer a service for both short- and long-form writers.

Facebook completed testing in August and rolled out the new look in late September. The improved Notes is easy to use, with more white space and less clutter,  According to Facebook, “You can add a cover photo that represents what your note is all about. You can caption and resize photos, and format your text into headers, quotes or bullets.”

Sound a lot like Medium?  That’s not surprising—it looks a lot like Medium, too. Clearly, Facebook sees the opportunity for some profit here. But they’re clearly missing one major opportunity because—although you can read or compose with Notes via the web—mobile usage is currently limited to just browsing.

Blogging Heats Up Again

The publishing platform, Medium, went public in October, 2013.  In late September, 2015, Medium announced a new round of funding that raised $57 million in capital.  In its announcement, Medium stated “we have big plans,” and publicized an upcoming launch event.

Andy Doyle, of Medium, writes that the enterprise plans to become “the dominant pipeline for connecting quality content and conversation.” Medium is already a mainstay for writers, journalists, and influencers.  Transparency is a feature of the Medium ecosystem.  Posts, responses, and highlights are visible to all, in order to promote transformation through conversation.

You can browse or use Medium on mobile by downloading an Android or iOS app.

The interface similarity between Facebook Notes and Medium is unmistakable—and these two companies appear to have similar publishing goals within very different platforms. Both enterprises are driving for quality content—or at least content.  It makes sense for Facebook to reinvigorate Notes.  It is presently unclear what partnerships and plans are ahead for Medium.

Some potential benefits for Facebook in pushing long-form content include:

  • Richer opportunities within Facebook could mean users stay longer, and browse further, into the platform
  • The new service could engage demographics, like teenagers, whose numbers on Facebook have decreased
  • Expanded offerings can mean more general traffic and users on the site
  • Moving deeper into content creation, Facebook advances its claim as a media company
  • The revamp is very likely to result in as-yet undisclosed revenue opportunities through advertising and data mining

In the past couple of years, blogging took off as a commercial marketing tool.  Well-written blogs communicate your brand, sell your wares, and keep you looking intelligent.  In the same time, the heat of personal blogging cooled as many jumped on board—and then abandoned their blogs.

While sites like WordPress and Tumblr are mainstays in the blogosphere, Facebook offers an “already there,” convenience to Facebook users. This could encourage—or invite—more people to broaden their community and undoubtedly make money for Facebook along the way. Can a fully functional, mobile Notes app be coming soon?  We’ll let you know.


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