The New Cool Thing To Do: Complain About Facebook Changes


facebook changes

Over the past couple days, and the subsequent weeks, Facebook, a free service, has been and will be rolling out some changes to the site. So far the most notable ones that have already taken effect are the new News Feed and Ticker as well as Lists. Along with these 3 features, you’re going to start seeing new profile pages rolling out called “Timeline” as well as some other smaller sharing options like music, movies, etc., but along with all these changes is one other major change… a constant stream of complaining assholes on your news feed. And honestly, that one is the only one I’m annoyed with…

Facebook is a FREE service that people CHOOSE to use to keep connected with the friends and family and stay up to date with the happenings in their lives. Again, nobody is forcing you to use Facebook and you’re not paying for a service so if you don’t like it just shut up and leave… stop just threatening to leave. More than 1/2 of the posts on my News Feed in the last few days have been complaints about the new Ticker and News Feed and it was so annoying that I felt the need to vent my frustrations here rather than on Facebook itself. So lets take a look at some of the recent changes and why people think they are so terrible and I’ll tell you why I think they are actually an improvement.

Lists

Facebook quietly added Lists to the left sidebar of the page just before they redid the News Feed/Ticker. Lists are obviously a direct response to Google+ Circles whether they want to admit it or not, and it’s a good start. Circles is one of my favorite parts of Google+ so I’m glad to see that Facebook realized that and tried to implement their own version. Lists haven’t garnered too much attention in the way of complaints over the last week or so because not many people notice them or really want to dive into them, personally I love them. I could do without the “Smart Lists”, but if you just hide those and create your own they work pretty well. Basically they allow you to group people together and only allow the people you choose, to see certain updates that you post to your wall. So say you want to vent about work, but don’t want coworkers to see that, you just want to vent to your close friends. Well, you would have a List called Close Friends and when you post the status update you would only post it to those people so that way none of your coworkers see you bitching about work and no harm is done. It can also work the other way, say you want to post something related to your job, but you don’t want to bore your friends with that kind of thing, you can just post it to your Coworkers List and none of your other friends will ever see it. It’s just a nice way to limit what you post to certain people, and it’s a welcome addition in my eyes.

My only complaint with Lists is that you can only select 1 list at a time to post towards. Google+ allows you to choose multiple circles to post content to, which I think is necessary for Facebook. For example, I have a List called Close Friends and one called Acquaintances, now if I wanted to post something to my Close Friends and Acquaintances I can’t, unless I also include my Close Friends in the Acquaintances list, which I can do, but I shouldn’t have to. So that’s my only gripe with Lists, otherwise I love it.

Subscribe

So they ripped off Google+ Circles they might as well rip off Twitters “Follower” subscription model, which again, is totally fine by me although I think it’s a little redundant with pages. Mark Cuban is a good example to use, he’s a big named celebrity that endorses social media in all aspects. He just switched his profile over to a subscription model as opposed to a personal profile (it could have been a page though I’m not sure). So now people can Subscribe to him and get all of his posts without having to be friends with him, and this is where I’m a little confused. Isn’t this almost the same as having a Fan Page that people can Like, thus allowing you to update all of your Fans on what you’re doing? I guess I have to look into it a bit more, but it seems very similar. Either way though it’s a nice improvement for us normal people that may want to follow what someone is doing, but don’t necessarily want to be Friends with that person… I guess. It’s not intrusive though and the complaints died down really fast regarding this one.

News Feed

This is what most people are complaining about, the News Feed. The old News Feed allowed you to see popular posts and recent posts using 2 links at the top of the feed. Personally I never used the Top News button and always used the Recent layout because I wanted to see what people were doing now. With the new News Feed there are no toggles, you can’t go back and forth between Top News and Recent News, Facebook decides what you see for you, which is kind of annoying if you think about it like that, but if you actually realize what it’s doing, it’s actually pretty cool.

So you probably noticed that you were now getting “Top News” at the top of your feed, as indicated by the little triangles in the corners, and then below those you would start to see the Recent Posts. Now did you also notice that if you check Facebook right now and then check it again in say a half hour or so, there are no longer Top News stories and it just shows you recent posts? That’s because Facebook is finding things that you may have missed since your last visit that they think are important, things that may not necessarily show up in  your recent feed depending on how many updates have gone by. So say one of your friends posted something really cool right after you logged off Facebook for the day, in the old system you may totally miss that post depending on how many of your other friends had posted things recently. In the new News Feed that information will be at the top and you’ll get to see the Top Posts you missed since your last visit and then you can start going through the more recent stuff. I don’t know why people think this is a bad thing other than maybe they don’t understand how it works or why it’s doing what it’s doing, but if you just think about it for a few minutes it makes perfect sense and I welcome the change.

Ticker

In the words of Xzibit “Hey, I put a Facebook in your Facebook so you can Facebook while you Facebook”. This seems to be most people’s reaction to the Ticker in the upper right hand corner now. The Ticker is a realtime update of what you’re friends are doing at that very moment, and guess what, it’s awesome. The main thing it does is keeps a lot of bullshit out of your News Feed. Personally I hide a lot of dumb things that people post in regards to games, apps, and whatever, but for those that don’t the Ticker is amazing. It updates in realtime to show you what your friends are doing around Facebook and the web without having to clutter up your News Feed with stupid stuff. This is going to be especially useful now that Facebook is launching their “watch”, “listen”, “read” logic that will integrate all the things you are doing into the Ticker for your friends to see. There would have been way more complaints if that crap started flooding the News Feed, so the Ticker is a very welcome addition. That being said, the best part of the Ticker is the fact that it’s realtime. No more need to refresh the screen to see what new posts have come on, if you’re just browsing around “The Book” looking at stuff, reading posts, you can see what other people are doing at that very moment from anywhere on the site, it’s actually pretty cool.

Timeline

This one hasn’t rolled out yet, but it will start in the next couple of weeks so don’t be surprised when your profile page looks drastically different. I’m sure there are going to be some complaints about this one… hell if you head over to CNN.com and read the idiotic comments on the post regarding this you can already see that people don’t like it even though they’ve never used it. I’ll be honest, when Zuckerberg was first talking about this at the F8 conference this morning I was a bit skeptical, but the more it was explained and the more I got to see what it did, the more I fell in love with it. It’s basically an infographic for your life all on one page. It’s a scrapbook of all of the things you’ve done over the years in one easy-on-the-eyes, aesthetically pleasing place. Maybe it’s just because I’m a more graphical person that I think so highly of it, but I truly think that once people see it they are going to wonder how they got by with the old profile pages. I really think this is going to change how people view social media profiles forever, it’s that drastic and that cool of a change, and I can’t wait till it hits my profile.

Watching, Listening, Reading

This one is not quite as intrusive as the other changes so I’m not going to spend too much time on it. Starting now, according to Facebook, you’ll start seeing all sorts of new posts coming through your Ticker with verbs like “watching”, “listening”, and “reading” that indicate what your friends are doing at the time. Spotify is going to be implemented in a huge way to show what your friends are listening to and allow you to listen along side of them in realtime. I think it’s another cool way for your friends to turn you on to new music, movies, books and whatever else. My only problem with this is that in order to listen or watch what your friends are you need to be using the same service. So if you don’t have a spotify account and your friend is using that to show what music he’s listening to, you won’t be able to listen along. We’ll have to see how that all works out.

So before you go and bash the changes to the free site that you choose to use, just take a minute and try to learn the new things before you automatically write them off. You might actually find that you like some of the features despite what the masses are trying to tell you. The only way to move forward is to embrace change. If you continue to stay the same everyone else is going to pass you by.