Over the last few weeks Facebook has rolled out test version of two new functions on the social media site: the additional of professional skills to users’ work and education sections, and a new ‘surfacing’ tool to allow you to see the demographic breakdown relating to conversations.
The new professional skills section is a fairly obvious addition if Facebook are hoping to provide competition for LinkedIn as a recruitment and business-based platform. Facebook is still seen as a leisure activity, though the number of companies doing busines on the social site has increased enormously in recent years, and recruiters notoriously take sneaky peeks at applicants’ social history to check for past discretions or personality flaws – it makes sense to open the format up to individuals looking to provide potential employers with a more professional profile. These skills will also allow users to be grouped according to new specifications which could prove useful to marketers and advertisers.
At the same time, Facebook has unveiled their new ‘surfacing’ tool, drilling down into public conversations and collecting posts relating to certain terms or words over time, providing a demographic breakdown of the results. This will allow selected users, such as news organisations, to integrate Facebook conversations directly into broadcasts, displaying public posts in response to current news stories. Already tested by CNN’s News Day, the broadcast feeds in Facebook comments on breaking news during the course of the show to provide a social angle.
This trending tool will allow the media to focus on specific topics, displaying feedback on relevant buzzwords and current events. Facebook’s VP for media partnerships and online operators Justin Osofsky explained:
“Over the past few months, we have rolled out a series of products aimed at surfacing the public conversations happening on Facebook including hashtags, embedded posts, and trending topics. We are committed to building features that improve the experience of discovering and participating in conversations about things happening in the world right now, including entertainment, sports, politics and news.”
Additional partners for the testing period include Sky TV, Slate, NBC’s Today Show, CNN, and Buzzfeed, who have been provided to access to the Public Feed API and Keyword Insights API to collect real-time feeds of public posts.