What if the News Feed could see the future?

October 26, 2010 in Facebook, Startup, Tech, Usability

The News Feed was the first Facebook “misstep“. Over the years we’ve seen quite a few, but the News Feed was the original. These missteps (and Zuckerberg’s world-class awkwardness) almost have a strange charm to them. Just like the Twitter Fail Whale, you know they represent a mistake and that people will get angry, but eventually people will get over it and learn to love them.

(ed. note: i’m still the only person on the internet to use the phrase “fail whale’s teat“.)

It’s been 4+ years since the News Feed launched, and it’s hard to remember the site without it. Four years is no insignificant period of time. There have been countless startups either influenced by, or were flat out clones of the News Feed that no longer exist. A couple are still hanging on, the occasional one gets beamed up to the mothership, but most ease their way into the deadpool.

This one (massive) feature has become as ubiquitous as the dropdown, but it hasn’t changed at all in the past four years. Maybe there are a couple more options to hide annoying Farmville badges, or keep your ex out of sight, but it has always answered just one question: “What just happened?”

On the surface, that’s only subtly different than “What is happening?”, but at the core, the difference is vast. Why must News Feeds be focused on the Past? Aren’t the Present and the Future just as, if not more important?

What if you took the notion of a Past/Present/Future News Feed and installed it at my bank? Wouldn’t it make me a more educated customer? Couldn’t it be the perfect home for “good behavior incentives”?

October 11th
– Your Visa payment of $101.86 was received on time

October 19th
– Late Fee charge of $35.00 waived

– Pending charge of $6.44 at Chipotle
– Pending charge of $21.64 at Best Buy

– Your 2nd Mortgage payment of $334.98 is due

January 4th, 2011
– If you continue making payments on time, you will receive a $500 credit limit increase

What if you took the notion of a Past/Present/Future News Feed and installed it at a sports startup?

Find out tomorrow.

4 Comments to What if the News Feed could see the future?

  1. i’m intrigued, mark! i like where this is going. going…. or gone. am i in the present or the future? dang it, this is getting all inceptiony.

  2. Erin Young on 26 October 2010
  3. Heh, absolutely. Facebook has Present and Future information hidden in other places, but why not integrate them? It would make the News Feed more of a social dashboard, than social record.

  4. Mark Phillip on 26 October 2010
  5. This is great. I’d love to see intelligent predictions on scores as well, so I can bet on em. :)

  6. Matthew Stephens on 26 October 2010
  7. If the site disappears and I suddenly have a 702 area code, you’ll know I’ve figured it out…

  8. Mark Phillip on 26 October 2010

Leave a comment

  • oceanic1:
    An ...
  • Mark Phillip:
    Ah, I really like that idea. That'd be a pretty h...
  • Ryan:
    Not sure if it's possible, but one of the features...
  • Mark Phillip:
    Absolutely my pleasure, Ryan. I'm excited about u...
  • Ryan:
    Thank you for all of the work you have done. I pu...