This morning on February 4, 2014, USA Today provided a rather impressive review of the new Facebook Paper App that was only just launched 24 hours previously. Tech reporter Brett Molina walks users through the new features, step-by-step.
This free mobile app combines the traditional functions of the 10-year old Facebook with a news reader platform that offers top headlines and current events from major news outlets online. Users can even pre-program their Paper App to automatically load certain types of news articles according to individual preferences. In total, 19 different categories of news feeds and headlines can be selected, including Politics, Pop Life or Entertainment, Sports, Technology, and even Cooking.
When a new user downloads the free Paper App, a video tutorial pops up to walk the user through the many different functions. Additional voice tips occur along the way until the smartphone owner is comfortable with the new format. It should be noted that “Facebook Paper” should not be confused with another popular app by a similar name, the iPad Paper, as pointed out in a Time.com article on Techland this morning as well.
The Top Section of the screen will show the traditional updates and news feeds from the user’s Facebook friends and family, while the bottom portion will feature the related headlines from the pre-selected categories, each in an individual rectangular square. By scrolling through the up to 19 categories from left to right, or vice versa, users can see up to 3 categories of topical news headlines at a time.
There are even more features that this new innovative app can do, but Molina goes on to say,
“It's hard to believe, but Paper makes the Facebook News Feed more interesting to explore. The Flipboard-style emphasis on photos makes thumbing through images shared by Friends more appealing. It's like reading a newspaper, only your friends' activity is mixed in with the stories of the day.”
Even though you can still access your own individual profile and post live personal updates on your Facebook account, Paper does not yet allow the user to update cover or profile images. For the time being, it might be wise to keep both apps on your mobile phone.
But Paper is definitely a step in the right direction, especially for users who are becoming slightly frustrated by the massive amounts of oversharing that can so often occur on the traditional platform. Facebook Paper actually makes the social media platform more relevant to the more professional user. After all, Facebook’s initial users were teenagers or college students some 10-years ago when this whole craze began. Now, they are in entering into their thirties, and their tastes have changed. Facebook is changing right along with them.