Monday, March 18, 2013

Facebook fatigue

I've been on Facebook since April 2008, so just about 5 years.  In that time, it has undergone a lot of changes and redesigns, mostly unpopular because the general public are change-resistant, but also because FB made some stupid decisions.  I rolled with the punches because my friends were on it and active, and with busy lives, it seemed that was sometimes the only way to keep in touch.  It's a good venue for sharing photos with those who care, and very helpful in organizing events like my book club meetings or parties.  Everyone you know is already on it, so there is no extra website to sign into to accept an event invitation.  Events were one of the things keeping me in the mix.

I heard that there was a redesign coming out, so when the message flashed up offering me to try it out (I could always go back to the old design if I wanted), I decided to give it a try.  At first, it seemed ok.  Looked a bit different but nothing to post complaints about.  Then I got into the nitty gritty.  The Ticker had disappeared and now seemed to be integrated into my news feed.  So every time my friends click Like on their friends' public posts, I see them right in my news feed instead of off to the side in the Ticker.  My news feed is now cluttered with posts on people I don't care about.  I tried clicking on friends and turning off notifications for Comments and Likes, but that doesn't seem to have changed anything.  I "unliked" or turned off notifications for a bunch of companies, but I still have a ways to go, apparently.  So I'm stuck with pictures of some baby I don't care about, or someone's profile photo who I don't know, just because my friends Liked it.  I can't complain to my friends for liking things, but the way it's being displayed to me in return is pushing me away from using the site.

[I speculated yesterday about how many people don't realize their posts are set to Public.  That baby picture I saw and my friend commented on?  If I were the mother, I wouldn't want that picture being accessible to anyone, even someone without a FB account.  What happens if it's used to try and abduct the child?  Odds are against that, but it's a possibility.]

Photo posts on the new FB news feed are forced into one size fits all, so if the picture is bigger than the display window allows, you have to click on the picture to get it full-size.  I like memes, so often the text at the bottom of the meme is cut off and I can't read it without clicking on it and slowing down my progress.

There appears to be no way to make "Most Recent" the default view for my feed. Every time I access it, I have to click on Most Recent to re-sort.  Despite FB's constant claims that their default feed will be what I really want to see, it never is.  I'm not the only person who prefers the Most Recent view and with every design change, FB decides, "nah, they don't really mean it."  We do mean it.

Despite telling me that I could switch back to the old format, that option now appears to be gone.  It was there the first few times I signed in on the new version, but now they assume I don't want to switch back because hey, who'd want that?

There have been articles and discussion lately on Facebook fatigue, and whether it is real.  I believe it is real, and plenty of users are suffering from it.  The more companies you hit Like on to win a prize, or the less your friends post actual comments about what's going on in their life, the more your news feed gets clogged with stuff that is either irrelevant or useless.  I'm already being marketed-to on an ongoing basis, and this makes it more often.

The scariest part of the article I posted above is the idea of auto-play video ads.  I hope they strongly consider this and decide against it.  That activity is VERY annoying and often makes people avoid sites altogether, something FB says it doesn't need right now.

I thought the goal of a new feed was to make it more like a newspaper, with sections of like-grouped areas.  I started to think about grouping companies together, and weather, and memes, and friends only.  Problem is, with the comments, likes, and Ticker items still appearing under my friends, I'll never get it to the point where I think it can be useful.

I sent in some feedback on the new design, but I'm rapidly running out of reasons to be bombarded with stuff I don't need to see.  My days on FB are becoming limited until/unless they make changes that are actually worthwhile.

1 comment:

John said...

Excellent article. You hit on many of the main points that cause me to sit on the fence and consider greatly minimizing my FB presence.