Saturday, April 18, 2009

Facebook is dying

Yesterday I attempted to use Facebook. I’ve been on Facebook for nearly 3 years and do not generally struggle with it. On this occasion, I went to a wall-to-wall between myself and a friend. I wanted to write on my friend’s wall, so I typed in the box at the top of the page. In the past, this would equal writing on her wall. Now, however, it appears that this is actually just a way of updating my status. To write on her wall I would have had to go to her actual profile.

This is one of many new changes in the latest version of Facebook. I’ve seen several major changes to the site over the last 3 years (going public, introduction of tabs, applications etc). Each has been something I’ve managed to adapt too. I was particularly a fan of the tabs idea. I hate (most) applications, but Facebook provided a way to block them, so I was happy.

However, the new change is different. Previous changes were just that – changes. To Facebook. This is not just a change to Facebook. This is an attempt to incorporate Twitter into Facebook. The latest version of Facebook is very dominated by status updates, as highlighted by my experience yesterday.

Facebook is (was) excellent at what it does. It’s a networking site. It’s a very useful way of (a) staying in tough with people, and (b) sharing photos and videos.
It is not MySpace, which is essentially ‘look at me, this is my page, look at how cool I am’.
It is not Twitter, which is essentially ‘this is what I’m doing at the moment, in case you’re interested’.
Facebook serves a different purpose to either of these sites. But now, having out-MySpaced MySpace with applications, it is trying to out-Twitter Twitter with status updates.

The biggest difference in the new Facebook is the news feed, which is no longer tabbed. In the past, there were several tabs, including one which was ‘status updates’. Now, it’s much more focused on status updates and less so on everything else (photos, groups etc.) This makes it harder to use the new Facebook for its real purposes (see (a) and (b) above).

I hope Facebook find a way to rectify the fact that it is currently crap. Otherwise my persona use of the site, and I expect that of many others, will dwindle significantly.

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