On the ‘Paper’ trail.

With Facebook recently making it into double digits, it was inevitable that the milestone would be celebrated with the release of something significant and exciting. The new Facebook app ‘Paper’ debuted in the US just one week ago, providing a new way to navigate through your news feed by browsing your paper with simple and natural movements.

While the app has not made its way to New Zealand yet (unsurprisingly), I’m sure it won’t be long before we’re interacting with it like old friends.

Mark Zuckerberg has made it no secret that he intends to create “the best personalised newspaper in the world” and this app certainly seems a few steps closer to seeing this happen. ‘Paper’ has been coined a slower, more deliberate way to browse Facebook. Barely resembling the existing app at all with no News Feed, no Timeline, in fact no stream of any kind.

The clean design is simple and easy to navigate using a horizontal scroll. Dragging and dropping the story cards can be done with one hand, and new posts fly in from the side without having to prompt a refresh.

Product Manager Michael Reckhow expresses how data-driven this new tool is. Users are essentially the editor of their own paper. The app presents a series of mini magazines, each representing certain themes and organising content in a way the suits you, your browsing habits and your sections of interest – a new feature altogether.

After only one week in the market, techies are giving the app a big ‘Like’. Unlike the Facebook overhaul just over a year ago, ‘Paper’ is not being pushed onto users, with the ‘old’ Facebook app remaining untouched and available. Creators seem sure the old app will eventually be deleted as new users explore and fall in love with – or are dependant on – ‘Paper’.

So what does this all mean for us marketers and our social media game plan? It seems ‘Paper’ doesn’t currently feature advertising content at all, perhaps one of the reasons why users are lapping up the new layout, which Facebook calls “distraction free”.

It is expected advertising will come, and hopefully bring with it greater opportunities to use the interface for data-driven messaging and targeting. It can only be a good thing that ‘Paper’ slows down the whole experience, increasing user engagement and lengthening view time.

With all the hype around the new app, I can’t wait to get my hands on it! In the meantime, sit tight and check out the Facebook release of ‘Paper’ here.

Author: Gabrielle Gillard
With thanks to Facebook.com/paper, The New York Times and The New Yorker.