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As I’ve already stated, Graph Search will not be as big of a deal for businesses as many are making it out to be. They did, however, start a potentially major shift in the way they handle their ecosystem and particularly how it affects outbound links if reports from Social Fresh are correct.
The company has always been pretty closed up in how it handles links. They have been accused of maintaining a closed garden, one that wants to keep users engaged with content on Facebook alone. This is bad for businesses and individuals who want to share links. If EdgeRank frowns upon links, then they aren’t getting seen. It has forced many to resort to an image-only policy with their Facebook posts. Trying to operate a social media marketing campaign with images alone is challenging.
Now, they appear to have increased the size of thumbnails that display on the Facebook news feed when links are posted. This could be a huge development and may point towards a trend that many have hoped would happen for a long time. Facebook’s usefulness not only as a marketing platform but also as a general use website has been hampered by their envious treatment of anything that takes people away from the platform. People don’t expect to find as much interesting news or intriguing outside content on Facebook the way they can get it on Twitter and other social sites.
By increasing the size of the thumbnails and potentially improving the way that the platform interacts with links, it could mean a shift that they’re recognizing the need to fill other roles. They aren’t just the site to find the latest images of little Timmy sliding into third base if all of this is true. They could become a hub for discussions of more worldly interest as well as a venue where quality content off of Facebook can be shared with a reasonable expectation of exposure.
We’ll be testing this out over the next few days (even weeks if it pans out) and we’ll let you know if the shift is a major one or merely a tweaking of their display capabilities.