Facebook’s core attraction isn’t news articles you could find anywhere, it’s intimate posts from your real friends. That explains why Facebook is trying to make highly personal text statuses as eye-catching as photos with the new test of a colored background option.
The feature lets users select a color that appears behind their text status in place of the normally-white background.
Sent to TechCrunch by reader Hoan Do over the weekend, Facebook confirms this feature is in testing. It could help Facebook boost “original sharing” of unique personal content, as opposed to resharing of news articles and viral videos.
In April, The Information reported that Facebook was experiencing a decline in original, personal sharing. Apparently “original content broadcasting” was down 21% year over year as of mid-2015, and original broadcast sharing was down 15% year-over-year as of April.
Facebook has tried to downplay that claim in the past, saying original content sharing was healthy. But VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri admitted on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September that sharing of professional publisher content has grown at a faster rate than original sharing, making the latter a smaller percentage of total content. That may have played into Facebook prioritizing friends and family instead of publishers in an update from September, which could restore a balance with more original content in the feed.
Facebook seemed to already be encouraging text status updates with a ‘big text’ feature that showed words in a larger font if your status was short, thereby making it more attention-grabbing.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said repeatedly that he sees rich media like video, 360, and VR as the future of sharing on Facebook. But there will always be some things best expressed with some simple words. Colored backgrounds make sure a spontaneous exclamation or a bit of poetry won’t get lost in the increasingly flashy feed.