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New Facebook app 'Paper' garners positive reviews

By William Lane, Daily Staff Reporter
Published February 6, 2014

Procrastinators beware, Facebook has developed a new way to keep its users glued to their mobile devices.

“Paper”, which launched Monday, is drastically different from the original Facebook app. It features a simple, full-screen view and makes use of categories to divide the information the user sees. These include a “Facebook category” for information about friends, as well as various other news categories such as “headlines,” “enterprise” and “creators.”

Associate Information Prof. Clifford Lampe specializes in Social Media applications and has collaborated with Facebook, Google, YouTube and LinkedIn on how the design of tools within these systems affect human interaction.

“I think that the main strategy is to have a more compelling mobile application,” Lampe said. “The original app isn’t optimized for the mobile touch interface; it’s basically a smaller version of their site.”

The release of the app came at a landmark time for Facebook as they celebrated their 10th anniversary the day after Paper’s release. Now, more people access social media sites through mobile devices than they do through their desktop computer, Lampe said.

“I think the new user interface is trying to leverage the new trend of mobile access,” Lampe said.

Paper’s new interface isn’t the only addition. The app also now features traditional news categories. The app draws from major news sources for easier access to stories for users, similar to the Google alert feature.

“They recognize that their users are incredibly heterogeneous,” Lampe said. “They are trying to support old cranky professors’ use and young students’ use by dividing up the app into categories … It’s a careful balancing act”.

Although Facebook is one of the world’s most used social networks, other mobile apps have provided significant competition recently, such as Snapchat and Instagram. Lampe said Facebook’s new app was likely inspired by newer interface designs like Instagram’s.

While the app was released Feb. 2, students who have downloaded it so far are happy with the results.

Business sophomore Andrew Padula recently started using the app and said it should reshape students’ access to and consumption of news.

“I like the interface, it seems very interactive and I think a lot of kids in college don’t check the news as much as maybe they should, so having it there readily available with Facebook is a benefit for students by making them more worldly,” Padula said.

Engineering sophomore Théo Benigeri grew to like the new app quickly.

“It took a bit of time to get used to, but now I prefer it to the old Facebook,” Benigeri said.


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