Facebook’s long-awaited total makeover of it’s extremely popular yet notoriously horrible iPhone app finally arrived in the app store yesterday. By all accounts I’ve seen, everyone’s thrilled with it. Finally, it just works. The new interface resets the bar for how a social media app for a smart phone should work. After staying up way too late last night playing with it, here are the things I’m most thrilled with (hint: read through to the last one to find out why I titled this article “…Is Better Than We Think,” and why this might signal a social media revolution.)

  1. Newsfeed is now front-and-center and much more straightforward. It’s the flowing lifestream of your friends, as it is on the web version. (Request for future update: It would be nice to be able to filter the news feed by groups and to hide things as you can on the web version. The mobile version should recognize hides made on the web version.) UPDATE: Oops, my requested feature is already there in Facebook 3.0, just a bit hidden. Tap the “Newsfeed” button at the upper right while viewing your Newsfeed, and up pops a familiar iPhone roller wheel with all your groups!
  2. Notifications are easy to find/view, and they now actually connect to the post they are notifying you about. That I was inspired to type that last phrase in italics points to just how inane the Facebook 2.0 for iPhone was.
  3. You can now actually comment on and/or “like” posts in your Newsfeed or on friends’ Walls. This means that after two years at the top of the iPhone apps downloads rankings, Facebook for iPhone has finally actually become social.
  4. Video, video, video. For some users, this might become the single most exciting upgrade in the new version. You can now upload video captured on your iPhone 3GS straight to your Facebook page. (Viewing videos in the iPhone app is not yet enabled, but Facebook says this is coming soon–which will be yet another revolutionary step of its own.) I was thrilled when iPhone 3GS not only added video but the ability to upload it straight to YouTube. But now I’m already ready to say “Buh-bye, YouTube.” Facebook’s new video upload from the iPhone is faster and easier than the YouTube version. Plus my videos go straight to where people I care about will actually see them. I predict that this addition will significantly increase Facebook’s share of the video social media market.
  5. The most significant aspect of the Facebook iPhone makeover: (and why I titled this post “…Is Better Than We Think”) Facebook’s new iPhone app may be the best-yet, easiest-to-use social media interface for a mobile device we’ve seen. Since it is becoming increasingly apparent that mobile is the future of social media, the new iPhone app may go a long way in establishing Facebook as the leader in social media in the next few years. Look out, Twitter.