Dizzying Change

The Target near my house recently underwent a complete remodel. Unawares, I went there with my two teens. We wandered helplessly through the once-familiar aisles, everything we once recognized scrambled and turned upside down leaving us lost, confused, and unable to simply grab toothpaste and be tempted by goods we didn’t need. I actually felt dizzy, as if the floor were moving. My son wailed, as he wandered into a produce aisle that once held video games, “I feel like the world is upside down!”

I had the same feeling when I logged onto Facebook yesterday.

According to Facebook Insider, the changes rolled out to some users yesterday were big. “They  include an expansion of the character limit on posts from 500 to 5,000, a roll out of the floating navigation bar we saw tested last week, the ability to edit bookmarks in the home page’s left navigation bar, and a more convenient way to leave birthday greetings,” says Josh Constine at Inside Facebook. “Over the last few days Facebook has also buried the poke button within a drop down menu, and removed the ability to accompany a friend request with a message.” And judging from the buzz I heard on Twitter this morning, many users are reacting like my son did when his video games were replaced with tomatoes.

And it won’t end there since today is 2nd day of F8, the Facebook developers’ conference in San Francisco. You can watch the keynote that explains — warning: it’s 40+ (nerdy) minutes — the changes that are coming by clicking on the video below.

Watch live streaming video from f8conference at livestream.com

If the event really fascinates you, check out the live coverage here. Of if you just want to get quickly up to speed, read this nice summary from Fast Company.

But the gist is that the changes that are coming will likely bring the sort of change to Facebook that will make my kids and I wail, “The world is upside down.” At least until we get used to it. Because as the number of people on Facebook speeds past today’s 400 million, merchants are increasingly considering the social network their own Super Target in the Cloud.

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