Anatomy of a Facebook News Feed Story
The figure shows a sample Facebook News Feed story. In this case, it’s a status update from a friend. In Facebook world a status update refers to any text people post that answers the question “What’s on your mind?”
Even in this tiny example, there are six significant parts of the story:
- Name and profile picture: The first part of any story is who it’s about or who wrote it. Both the name and picture are links to that person’s Timeline. In addition, if you hover the mouse cursor over a person’s name, you’ll see a miniaturized preview of the person’s Timeline with information about your relationship (that you are friends and following him, in most cases) as well as a button you can click to message him.
Hovering the mouse cursor over any bolded text in a News Feed story generates a preview for a Timeline, Page, or interest with specific buttons for adding friends, liking, or following.
- Feeling/Activity info: Not every status includes this, but Facebook provides a list of emotions and activities that can be appended to any status update or post. In this case, the emoticon (and words) depict my fear of spiders.
- Tags: Tags are a way of marking who or what is with you when you post something to Facebook. You might tag a person who is with you when you write a post, or you might tag a TV show you are watching. Tags in posts are displayed as links in blue text. You can hover the mouse cursor over these tags to view more info about that person, Page, place, or thing.
- Timestamp: The little gray text near the profile photo in the post tells you how long ago this post was added.
- Privacy Info: The gray icon next to the timestamp represents the privacy of that post. Hover the mouse cursor over the icon to see who else can see the post. Usually posts are visible either to everyone (Public) or just to that person’s friends.
- Content: The content section of a News Feed story is the most variable. It might be a preview of an article, or a video, or a photo album. It could also be a location where someone has checked in, or marked her location via GPS, using her phone. The content is the part of the story that is the most important; it’s the whole reason for the story existing. In the figure, the content is a status update about spiders in Seattle.
- Like, Comment, and Share: These links allow you to interact with your friends about the content they’ve posted. In addition, you can see how many people have already liked a post, and you can see any comments that have been made beneath the post itself. You may also see a text box next to your own profile picture prompting you to “Write a comment . . . .”