Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yet Another Tirade Against Facebook

If  there is one web site I have complained about more than any other on this blog, it is Facebook. Over the years Facebook has made a number of changes unpopular with users, changes which have reduced the enjoyability and usability of the site for many. Most recently I complained about the changes Facebook had made to their profiles. Now Facebook has taken the changes they have made to profiles and applied them to pages as well.

For those who are wondering what a Facebook page is, rather than being devoted to an individual as a profile is, a page is dedicated to an artist, business, or brand. For instance, as an author I have my own Facebook page (as opposed to my personal profile). Pages have certain advantages that profiles don't have, such as discussion boards and displaying links in the left sidebar (profiles also have links, but they are not displayed conveniently in the profile's sidebar. One downside that pages have is that absolutely anyone can like one's page, while one must approve people who want to be friends on his or her profile. That having been said, one does have the ability to bar people from his or her page.

Anyhow, as I said earlier, Facebook has now applied the same changes they made to profiles to pages. Namely, the status update is no longer at the top of the page! Now many of us who have pages used the status update as a means of relaying news on various projects, alerting people to the completion of various projects, and so on. With the status update no longer at the top of the page, anyone visiting the page would possibly have to scroll through several posts just to find the status update! Another change to pages is a bit more minor, but there are those of us who find it annoying nonetheless. Beneath the name on pages is now a row of photos--the photo strip I believe Facebook calls it. While I know some people don't mind this feature, some of us hate it. First, it is unpleasant to my eye.  Second, it seems to me the status should be there!

Perhaps even worse than not having the status update at the top of pages is the fact that the "About" section,  the very thing that identifies who the page belongs to, no longer appears in the sidebar! The "About" section is where, say, John L. Sullivan could be identified as director of Ants in Your Pants of 1939 and O Brother Where Art Thou." In other words, the "About" section essentially let people know who the owner of the page is. Unfortunately, Facebook apparently does not think identifying the owner of a page is very important, as they have one must now click on "Info" in the left sidebar. Obviously,   this makes it harder for people to identify who a given page belongs to. After all, if people are more familiar with me than my work, how are they to know that "Terence Towles Canote" is the blogger who writes A Shroud of Thoughts?

Another change to Pages is very minor, but it one I dislike regardless. Namely, other pages that a page owner better than any other are now called "Likes," whereas they were once called "Favourites." To me this is much less accurate than "Favourite." I might like a good many other pages, but there only a few that are my favourites. Another complaint that I have is on the old version of pages it actually had a small box with the names and pictures of a few  of people who liked a page. One could then click a link and see everyone who likes a page. Now there is simply a place  on the sidebar "(fill in the blank) people like this," although the link is to see everyone who likes a page is still there. As the owner of the page I much preferred the little box with names and pictures.

At any rate, the changes in pages seem to confirm in my mind that Facebook has a death wish. It is almost as if they want to go the way of MySpace, that they want to lose users. Indeed, it is no wonder Facebook's user satisfaction rating is right down there with the airlines and the IRS. I do not think one has to be a great detective to figure out that much of the reason for this is that Facebook is constantly making changes which users dislike, changes which reduce the functionality of the site as well as the enjoyment users get out of it. I rather suspect that Facebook continues on this current course, it will be about as popular as MySpace is now in a year or two. In fact, I think Facebook's best path now would be to return to the old profiles and old pages and as swiftly as possible. That is one change most users would approve.


QUB English Society said...

I just wanted to say that I have absolutely no idea what Facebook is about. I just have it events that may occur which lead to me needing a Facebook.


Raquel Stecher said...

You can block users from your Facebook Like page. You just go to the list of Likers and click the X next to their name.

I agree with you on some things. I think Facebook, instead of making the site more user-friendly, is making things worse with all these changes. I don't care for their philosophy of changing things and not listening to complaints. They basically think they know what's best for us and what we have to say doesn't matter because eventually we will shut up about it and forget the change even happened. Argh!

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

Facebook knows what you want without telling you that you want it. OBEY.