Facebook facing an identity crisis?
The past couple of days have been pretty busy and I’ve not been able to really examine the changes at Facebook – and there have been a lot with more to come.
Something that has struck me, however, has been the mixed reaction some of which has been completely contradictory.
We are creatures of habit and often resist change, this can be seen in the public outcry every time Facebook has a redesign and this time is no exception. Reading reports on tech blogs, however, gives a confusing picture.
Facebook has, on one hand, been accused of trying to become a news network while on the other being praised for becoming more social.
We’ve had Bradley Horowitz’s comments about Google trying to make Plus all things to all people – is Facebook trying to do the same?
People not pages
Google is, quite rightly, moving its focus from pages to people in order to firmly cement Plus in the social mindset but Facebook has always been recognised as better understanding people and the sentiment of online communication. The “like” button is a prime example.
Some of the changes being implemented seem to be moving Facebook away from this emotional side towards a colder, more matter-of-fact, position.
By highlighting items as “top stories” you can instantly see where the criticism about being a news network comes from. This is not the type of language we have come to expect from Facebook.
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Now, these top stories are nothing more than popular recent items with the most likes and comments which, if you were on Google+, would have bubbled to the top of of your stream anyway. Is the criticism an over-reaction?
We invest heavily in social sites so it is only natural that we care about the way they work but the reaction of some is definitely unreasonable.
Without change services will stagnate and get left behind by the competition.
Yes, companies make mistakes and, perhaps, some of the new features we already have – seen during f8 .
Air your laundry in public
Google has had the luxury of hiding behind the “field trial” banner and so has been able to experiment almost with impunity but there has still been massive criticism.
We can liken feature and design changes to thinking out load – it’s just unfortunate that, as we become so attached to the services we use and because of their very nature, this thought process is so incredibly public.
When you throw stuff at the wall not everything sticks but our social services are having to throw theirs with millions watching and aren’t going to be able to please everyone.