Facebook announced some updates to its Notes tool last week designed to make it appeal more to users of the social network than has been the case so far.
Notes lets you write longer-form content exceeding the brevity a status update gives you, and post it to your Facebook timeline to share with your friends. Think of it as ‘blogging lite’ within Facebook – the update brings some new features including adding a cover image to your post, adding images including captions in the post body, and some simple formatting attributes such as headings and bulleted lists.
It could be a useful tool, a great way to publish a post to Facebook that might be more appropriate there than, say, publishing it on your own blog. That’s certainly what I thought yesterday when I decided to try it out with a narrative on a walk by the seaside in Brighton this weekend.
It’s not the kind of personal story I tend to write about on my business-focused blog, but it’s perfect for Facebook. Plus I took loads of photos with my new Galaxy S6 (great camera!) and wanted to use some of those images.
So I wrote and published two Notes (or posts).
Writing two posts wasn’t what I had in mind, though. While Notes is a great idea, I don’t think it’s ready yet for general use if my experience yesterday is any indicator:
- In writing my first Note, once I’d got to just over 200 words / 1200 characters, and two photos plus the cover picture, I couldn’t add any more pictures. Worse, I’d actually written more than 250 words, but when publishing the post, the last 50 words didn’t make it.
- If I clicked on the screen anywhere outside the text-editing area, the screen reverted me to my Facebook timeline and I lost everything I’d written if I hadn’t saved a draft.
- When adding a photo, it took me a bit of guesswork to figure out how to save a caption. Probably intuitive, but it passed me by.
- I couldn’t drag-and-drop a photo into the body but I could with the cover image. A bit inconsistent from a UI perspective.
- I wrote my second Note that was a continuation of the narrative of the first. That second one had about 100 words, but only 22 got published – the rest disappeared during publishing. And I noticed some words are missing letters.
- There’s no means of adding links to any text. Maybe that’s a Facebook thing, part of their wanting you to remain within the walled garden, not linking to content outside. But really though?
- I couldn’t find any guidance or instructions on how to use Notes.
I used Notes on a Windows 7 PC using the Chrome browser. Would it have been different or better on a mobile device? Well, I looked through every menu in the Facebook app for Android on my Galaxy S6 but could find nothing saying ‘Notes.’
Did I miss something in what I was doing? I’d love to know…