Facebook finds itself in a curious predicament. As, arguably, the world’s most popular website, it has a HUGE user base. A rabid and faithful network of fans who visit the portal weekly, daily, or multiple times a day.
Facebook, for many, has become the internet. They use it for email. For chatting. For photo sharing. For news feeds. For video viewing. For zombie biting and poking.
To the everyday internet user there is little need to venture outside the walled garden that Zuckerberg has created. Everything they need is inside Facebook.
And therein lies the problem. Facebook’s unsophisticated user base is so devoted, that just the slightest sniff of change, redesign or innovation will set them off ranting, raving, protesting, and rising up in voice against the company.
So what did you think was going to happen when Facebook introduced a Twitter cum FriendFeed styled stream design to the front page? Despite a gradual roll out and weeks of warnings on the front page, the community is complaining the only way they know how – with a Facebook application. … [contd]
More than 94% of the people using that Facebook application are complaining of the change (again – this happened in 2006 when the NewsFeed was introduced). One particularly interesting argument says Facebook needs to just calm down, and give people what they want instead of constantly chasing down the competition (like Twitter)
When your application becomes an integral part of your customers lives and identities, it is almost expected that they protest any major changes to the user experience. The problem is that you may eventually become jaded about negative feedback because you assume that for the most part the protests are simply people’s natural resistance to change.
I asked for feedback on the redesign, here’s what the users have to say:
Amber Hope at 7:40am March 20
I don’t like the highlights, not liking how it chooses what they are…a lot of the highlights I could care less about and it should give me the X option so I don’t have to see some of it. I don’t like the comment box always there, I’m seeing my pic everywhere.
Main hate is the highlights thought
Dena Sharkey at 8:30am March 20
Too much stuff on the main page. I liked the simplicity of the last format. Dena wrote on Jeff’s wall. or… Dena posted new pictures. The home page has way too much stuff on it.
Avelina Wittenberg at 9:25am March 20
i personally like it to buz! and ppl have to realize that things on the internet will always change no matter what they think about it, so i say just get used to it it hasnt really changed that much if u think about it!
Christie Chewka at 10:57am March 20
All the little fun things are gone and my ability to chose what and who I want to see in my feed is gone. If someone is having an active day they can take over the feed. I also don’t need to see my face on my page after every status update. I feel like I’ve built my own shrine. I think people should be bothered by this. The arrogance of facebook changing the terms and conditions and then this forced format change is shocking. What next?
Personally, I like the redesign. I have never been more active on Facebook than I am now. The stream of consciousness and real time updating is just begging for conversations to start and continue.
That said, Facebook today isn’t the same tool that sucked in users with the promise of connecting with old friends. As one commenter on Valleywag said:
Facebook is not a blog. In its old form it was a really great PHONEBOOK. A phonebook that not only updated your acquaintance’s (most FB friends are not friends) contact info, but also gave you a general summary of their life. It was a big picture kind of thing: Where they are, who they’re dating, what school or job they have, and how to contact them. It was never about “sharing” your daily thoughts on how great your panini was or omg gossip girl is back! The livejournal twit-blog crap is messing up the phonebook interface.[Valleywag]
Robert Scoble nails it even harder:
All those who are saying the new design sucks should NOT be listened to. Yeah, I know a lot of people are going to get mad at me for saying that. After all, how can a blogger say to not listen to the masses? Easy: I’ve seen the advice the masses are giving and most of it isn’t very good for Facebook’s business interests. …
Zuckerberg is not listening to you because you don’t get how Facebook is going to make billions. Zuckerberg is right. He shouldn’t start listening to his users now.