Much has been written by many people on the subject of Facebook. Some good, some bad, and some really scandalous. So here are my views, as a Facebook user, now an infrequent or casual user.
Years ago I had not heard of Facebook until one evening the presenter on the prime time news was going on about a new site online that was quickly becoming addictive! What? Addictive? Nonsense!
So off I surfed to find said addictive site on the World Wide Web and signed up to have a poke around. In those days you HAD to sign up in order to peer in the windows. Now we are forced to draw the blinds to keep out stalkers, spammers, and advertisers!
As I expected upon signing up, I was not hopelessly addicted but the network quickly became a pleasant way to pass the time. I made new friends around the country and even globally. Some are still my friends today and some have long been removed as all deadwood must.
I spent quite a bit of time customising, adding interesting applications that reflected my personality and gave a glimpse into who I was. So in as far as a dull, monotone, banking blue theme could be tweaked, it was. It was great! Finally an easy to use forum for my little online home that I did not have to do HTML for!
Since Facebook was never intended to service the planet, it was a delightful little intimate corner we users, that didn’t scoff at it, sat and socialised. An intimate little Café!
Soon, and not unexpectedly, Facebook became increasingly more popular. Everyone started clambering over each other to be first in the queue to join this elite club. Facebook’s servers became sluggish as there was no infrastructure in place to deal with the onslaught of traffic and bandwidth use. Something had to be done or Facebook would be no more.
Wisely, and contrary to everyone’s irrational fears, Facebook was not turned into a paying member’s site. Instead, it rather turned to advertising. This was a good move and anyone with a sense of logic welcomed the change.
Facebook had by this time ceased to be a little private server which we were most graciously allowed to make our homes on. It was now… a public arena! At this stage, and hence forth, without its members the site would irrevocably close or be forced to scale back.
Where things began to take a turn for the worse as far as its members were concerned was with the first major Facebook overhaul. Not much thought was given to what the community thought or cared and understandably people were quite annoyed. This was Facebook’s first mistake and one they sadly continue to repeat either out of ignorance or arrogance.
In one fell swoop, every bit of customisation was removed, applications were made redundant, and its members turned into uniform numbers and statistics. I firmly believe that this first major update marked the turn in trend from a Social Medium into an Advertising Money Making Monster.
Now with all growth, and especially in numbers, future development generally tries to apply a controllable uniformity to minimise issues and challenges. The consistent problem has been that changes have not made it easier, but in fact, harder to get everyday things done on Facebook.
Streamlining processes is a trade off from individuality into ease of use. What we have seen happen with Facebook is that it is stripping away individuality and forcing people to conform but things have not become easier over all! For every process that has improved at least one or more has become increasingly cumbersome.
It has become so tedious, in fact, that I now rely on my own shortcuts to various parts of Facebook instead of those within the site. This is a good indication of how processes that took one or two clicks to navigate to have now become buried so deeply within Facebook that one has to often “search” the network for where to find certain settings and such.
So what does this all mean in the layman’s eyes? Well, the harder it gets to utilise something, the less likely it is to get used. That is the simple black and white answer. Greys are for people who wish to avoid the truth.
My reality is that I have ceased to use most features in Facebook because real life is complicated enough as it is. I do not need any further aggravation in my Social Media where I go to relax. Or try to relax!
When last did you try to view all of your photo albums on one page? Do you realise how many hoops you have to jump through to do it? All the information applied to the albums is lost because most viewers have no idea how to view photos in Album view. It is evident by the way people land up posting comments on the actual Album when they meant to post about specific photographs.
It now appears that Facebook really doesn’t care what its users think or care. Not surprising behaviour for a company that grows so large within such a short space of time.
One of the reasons Facebook boasts a lot of traffic is due to its Social Games such as offered by incredibly mismanaged companies such as Zynga. It has become increasingly difficult to actually play these online games with each progressive and sweeping change Facebook makes.
Spokesman for Facebook also love to boast as to its numbers of users. Let me provide some insight to dispel some of this misinformation. Firstly, Facebook has a lot of inactive or irregular users. People have died, gotten bored with the medium, forgotten passwords and created new profiles, been “hacked” out of their own profiles, or simply created additional profiles.
Why would one person create multiple profiles? Stalkers sometimes like to keep their real identities secret. Sometimes they are blocked by the stalked so they create a new profile to continue keeping tabs on the focus of their obsession.
Gamers have taken to creating up to as many as 5 additional profiles in order to assist with ridiculous clicking/begging requests from game designers such as the aforementioned Zynga. So you create new fake profiles and use different browsers that automatically log in just to generate clicks to get your Farmville into shipshape!
So three, four, or even more profiles could be a single human being on a single computer just playing games. Do not blindly buy into Facebook statistics without any question. Facebook has bought into its own hype and this will ultimately be its downfall if it does not take heed of what we as users are talking about. This is a simple case of a snake getting fatter as it swallows its own tail.
Now we forward ourselves to the current soon to be a compulsory upgrade to Facebook’s new Timeline view of profiles. It has a similar appearance to Google’s new theme for Blogging – which by the way – is optional! Overall I actually like the look of it. It has great appeal and is dynamic. So what is the problem then?
Well, it doesn’t work very well for everyday users. It looks pretty at a glance, but it makes more difficult to find anything on a user’s profile. It makes it almost impossible to play the Social Games as previously mentioned. This alone is going to see a huge drop off in traffic in Facebook.
Since Facebook is now about the profit margin this is a concern. Less traffic, less interest, less users… less ad views! Less ad views means a drop in revenue. Facebook needs to take heed imminently
In ending off this article I do wish to impart the message that I want Facebook to thrive and to grow. I will take no pleasure in the demise of the network but this is where it is currently headed if steps are not implemented before it is too late.
I’m sure that in time it will all be tweaked into shape but what do we do in the meantime? I’ll tell you what I certainly will be doing… spending even less time on Facebook!
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