Migration to the new Facebook profile format is now optional. I don't know how long that will last, but following are my observations about the new profile. (My apologies for the lack of white space between the items below. TypePad seems to have eliminated the ability to do that.)
- No turning back: Once you click the button to upgrade, there's no turning back. Your profile and is converted and you will view all others in the new format as well.
- Character limits: Facebook has a new 995 character limit (including spaces) for your employment info. This space was unlimited before, and if your descriptions exceeded that, and you didn't save them elsewhere, they are gone. Make sure that yours don't cut off now.
- Videos: No, your videos are not lost, they're just buried now. In the new left nav, go to Photos, and at the top click on See All Videos. They're all there. Unfortunately they're sufficiently buried now to render them essentially useless as a personal marketing tool.
- Standardization: The new profile is very Steppford-esque. The cookie-cutter template allows no room for customization. All your custom tabs are gone with the new design, and it's impossible to add anything to your sidebar, (except featured friends,) or rearrange it as far as I can see. You can't even customize what information about you is displayed under your name except by hiding it in your privacy settings.
- Photos: Facebook adds the 5 most recently tagged photos of you under your name. These are seen by anybody who has permissions to see them, so if they're not the photos you want visible, you might untag and retag yourself in the ones you want displayed. You might have to do this repeatedly as new photos of you are tagged. It's an annoying but effective work-around.
- Friends: You can review your friends list alphabetically by first name or by a mish-mash of randomly displayed friend photos. Refreshing the page changes the order of the photos.
- Info: Facebook obviously believes that your most important identifiers are your education and work, because they display that information at the top of your info now. Your true personal information is way down at the bottom, under Pages you like and activities.
- Featured friends: You can add Featured Friends to your sidebar by adding an established or new list.
- Lists: I'm hearing through my channels that your friends are notified when you add them to a list now if you've added the list to the Featured Friends area. However, I wouldn't trust that this won't spill over into other lists as well. This makes things a little complicated if you've built friend lists to make it easy to customize your privacy settings and some have unflattering names. I urge you to give it some thought before adding someone to a list called something like, "Jerks." So much for list privacy!
- Shared lists: Friends lists may also be shared. I suppose this might be useful, for example, to help someone who is new to Facebook find members of your common high school or college class, especially since Facebook seems to have eliminated the ability to review members of a specific class at a school. Now all alum are lumped together in a disorganized mess.
- Tagging: You can now tag friends in activities that you do together, including sports, education and work. I had a friend tag me as his high school classmate. I was 2-years ahead of him in school, however, it placed me under his class year on his page. That's misleading and inaccurate, so that needs work.
That's what I've noticed so far. What have you noticed in this transition?
(This post was amended at 1:00 on 12.8.10)