As part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I decided that I was going to spend less time on Facebook. The social media website was losing its appeal, and I was wasting too much time on it. Besides, Facebook already seems to be going downhill, so why not stop early? However, that all changed on Monday, Feb. 3, when Facebook released their new app, Paper.
Paper combines a user’s Facebook newsfeed with top stories from all over the internet; it’s like one big mega-newsfeed. You can add different categories such as news, food, gossip and technology.
The app splits your screen in half with top stories on the upper half and all stories on the bottom. You can flip between categories by swiping the upper half left. If you click or swipe up on a story in the bottom half, the story is brought up with an excerpt. You can browse stories this way as well. With a simple flip up, as if you were unfolding the story, you can pull up the full story. Swiping down closes the article.
Another great feature Facebook has created is the ability to view an entire photo by tilting your phone to the left and the right. No longer are there awkward black boxes on the top and bottom of pictures that cause the photo to appear smaller. Instead, the app fills the screen with a photo and gives you the ability to view the entire photo with the flick of a wrist. This feature really utilizes the iPhone’s technology and opens up many doors for other apps and future development.
As your typical journalism kid, the first thing that drew me to the app was the design. The app is so clean and the different taps and swipes really streamlines the user’s experience. Why try to find an “X” when you could just swipe down to close the story? The design invites me to flip through more Facebook albums of WPA and read more stories about the Winter Olympics.
Compared to the desktop or original Facebook mobile app, Paper feels alive and current. The app seems to be catered to Generation Y with it’s sleek design and minimal effort. Now whenever I log onto Facebook from a computer, the site seems dull and overtaken by parents. One thing is for sure, you won’t find any parents with this app for a couple years. Too many gestures and taps for them to remember.
Even though I feel like I’m spending more time on Facebook, am I really on Facebook? As a news junkie, I usually spend more time flipping through the top stories instead of my Facebook newsfeed. Paper centralizes and shows the most important news stories at that time into one place. I even started deleting some of my news apps because I no longer had any use for them. This feature of Paper has been one of the main reasons I used it so much, and maybe even the only reason. I know that if the original Facebook mobile app had just been given a facelift, I would have gotten bored within three days. But the additional newsfeeds have been pulling up the app in between classes.
Facebook is genius for combining the rest of the internet with itself while showing users the future of social media apps and design. It added the needed spunk and coolness back into Facebook.