The past two days I've been bombarded by references to the new Facebook feed changes. People seem to HATE it. While I don't think they are all amazing, I do have a few thoughts on it.
I hear chatter about Facebook not listening to their users and just "ramming changes down their throats". I'm not an expert on thier process but some cursory research showed that they have focus groups and beta tests of new UI features, so it seems unlikely that they are completely deaf to what the users want. Remember 3 years ago when suddenly they added user photos to the feed and everyone went ballistic? Now that feature is a staple of the Facebook platform and it's just a normal way of life.
Could it be that Facebook is innovating? That they are trying to push the evenlope and push users outside of their comfort zone? Apple does not do focus groups. Neither does Farrari. If Apple and Ferrari did focus groups and sent every design concept to committee, would we have the slick MacBooks, Ipods, and sports cars that we have today? Sometimes, I think having a smaller group in control, a small, innovative focused group in control can make for a better product.
Our Relationship with Facebook
I may be going out on a limb here, but we all have a relationship with Facebook. They exist to make money, period. We are getting thier service for FREE, I remind you FREE. Do we have the right to be so hard on them? They've connected the world with their platform, and it's THEIR platform to monetize and improve on as they wish. There are people there a lot smarter than I am and they probably see the future clearer than I do. And they don't owe me anything. I know, it's slightly demoralizing but in my opinion, that is just the way it is.
How to Reconcile
Ironically, I've always kind of been down on Facebook. It's slower, heavier, and the friend method is much more restricive than (drumroll...) my favorite social network, Twitter. I still climb on my soap box and proclaim how Twitter is great, how you can pick a client that has a user interface that you like, and have much more control and flexibility over how you interact with the service. But alas, it often falls on deaf ears. In Facebook land, I anticipate they will scale back a few of the most hated features and keep improving the setup/customization of settings to allow users to better tailor their experience. If you're mad at Facebook, have you spent the time to go through and review all the options? And remember, you have a choice. You can take a Facebook vacation or just simply quit. Life will go on. I've taken two vacations, one lasted 6 months. It was not a bad thing.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you hate it? Do you think Facebook has the right to do what they want to do with their platform? Are you going to keep using it? Did you try Twitter yet?