I am not addicted to Facebook. I merely treat it as an extension of my brain, that’s all.
But now, Facebook has grown out of control. Cancer of the extended brain. And it’s time for some blogotherapy.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s an update. Facebook has been gradually rolling out new features ever since it went public, but most of these have been small, optional additions. Yesterday, however, a design-changing element was introduced: a “news feed” that alerts you of every move any of your friends make on Facebook.
So what’s wrong with this?
1) There’s no way of taking yourself off of it.
Yes, I realize you can close your Facebook account or not do anything else, ever, but that would interrupt your normal use of Facebook SO much–to avoid activity on the feed, you would have to avoid friending people, joining groups, changing your profile or picture, uploading photos, tagging people, writing on the walls–basically every interesting thing to do with Facebook except displaying an already-made profile. With all the other Facebook features, you have control over the accessibility of your information–untagging photos, making your profile (or subsections) private, etc. So why not this?
2) It’s UGLY.
Back on the old Facebook, your homepage contained your picture, a couple of links for editting, announcements about new requests and invites, and birthday announcements. It was very clean and easy to navigate, and the really important things were immediately apparent upon logging in. With the new “Facelift”, as my roommate calls it, you’re immediately flooded with a ridiculous amount of information the second you log in. There’s no big thing (i.e. your profile pic) to click to go to your profile, and the requests and invites are relegated to the top right corner of the page, where they’re easy to miss. What, instead, gets front and center? The fact that 75 of my friends have joined the group “Students against Facebook News Feed”. Oh, the irony.
Also, having the Minifeed console in the middle of the profile splits it up in a really uncomfortable way. It’s such an interruption and a design killer.
This wouldn’t be too much of a problem except…
3) There’s no way to take it off yourself
I mean, yeah, you can minimize the Minifeed console on your profile page so that you don’t have to see it as you surf other people’s profiles, but there’s no way to compthe fletely remove it. More importantly, you can’t do anything about the fact that your home page has been completely ravaged by a plague of useless ugliness. According to the Facebook blog, they are debating whether or not to provide the option for removal. Why should this be a debate? Give the users the choice on this, especially since it’s so controversial.
4) The information is kind of USELESS
Do I need to be notified if 5 of my friends join “Crikey! A Steve Irwin memorial group”? Or that two of them left “Amazing Sexy Bitches”? Or if one of my friends from high school is friending new people THAT I DON’T KNOW at her college? Do I need to be alerted every time a relationship splits up? Don’t you think that if we cared, we would go check ourselves?
I understand that Zuckerberg & crew were just trying to make our lives even MORE convenient, but they don’t seem to understand that these are the things we just don’t need to know. Or at least, not this way. In my opinion, browsing Facebook is like a very lazy way of visiting your friends (or at least what they choose to put of themselves online). You casually browse and notice that so-and-so is in a group that looks interesting, or shares some interest with you, or has decided to change their profile pic. The new Facebook shoves it in your face, and it feels uncomfortable. Why?
5) It’s Creepy
This is the biggest outcry from people. But why is it creepy? I think it’s creepy that acts that were once personal and not immediately open to the scrutiny of others are now blared on loudspeakers to everyone without distinction. Sure, none of this is information that didn’t already exist, but the difference is accessibility. It’s like the birthday feature: if your friends’ birthdays didn’t pop up on your home page, everyone would get a lot fewer birthday messages because fewer people would know. Similarly, you can always check to see what groups your friend is in and, if you’re interested enough, notice new additions or removals. However, the information is then only accessible to a few, devoted people. Now, people who don’t even know you all that well will be informed about every–well, I’m going to let my friend Banan explain the consequences with her Sting parody.
“Every Post you make
Every Pic you take
Every Friend you fake
For Facebook’s sake
I’ll be watching you.”
(Edit: Jesus CHRIST, people, if you don’t like Facebook don’t use it, but please stop venting about how you got screwed over by it on my blog. I am not interested in hearing about your ex-girlfriend’s facebook profile and how many friends she has and how hurt you felt by it.)