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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 22, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

    It’s not me, Facebook, it’s you

    Ciara O'Brien

    Dear Facebook,

    I understand you like to keep things fresh. I understand you might want to “spice things up” in a bid to desperately cling on to the people you like to see coming back every day. I understand that you don’t ever feel that the site is quite “done”.  I understand the old saying “A change is as good as a rest”.

    But seriously. Enough already. It’s getting to the point where every time I visit, there’s something new. I almost don’t recognise you any more. And if I’m being really honest, there’s more than a faint whiff of desperation at this point.

    Don’t think we didn’t notice those new features bore a passing resemblance to Google+. I know they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and yes, you were here first. But you should be confident enough, at this stage and after 750 million+ users, in your own approach. Everyone’s talking about it you know.

    And then today, I log in to find not only have you changed your look again, but also added a whole lot of extras that I didn’t ask for, I don’t want and certainly don’t need.

    I don’t need you to tell me what’s interesting. I don’t need you to handily arrange my friends into lists for me. And the constant updates about what everyone is up to right this very minutes? It’s a little creepy and verging on stalker-ish.

    I’m starting to feel a little babied. And the way you keep chopping and changing means that there are some things I’d rather not broadcast that are suddenly being made public.

    Frankly, you’re getting suffocating. And confusing.

    Remember when things were simpler? You did what I asked. You didn’t decide to randomly allow people to poke through my posts and photos without telling me. You didn’t suddenly chop and change and expect me to just deal with it.

    And now? Well, now… it’s a bit of a mess.

    We’re on a downward spiral here. I’m a regular twitter user. I’m already flirting with Google+. Keep it up and I may just have to make the change permanently.

    In this case, it really is you, not me.


    • Cosmia says:

      The new changes are infuriating! Surely they should be making it easier to use rather than more difficult? Or, preferably, leaving it alone.

    • petee says:

      it really is so messy, cluttered , very hard to follow , its like throwing twitter, facebook and google + against a wall and see what comes out . myspace got so annoying because of this, facebook was simple.
      if its not broken, don’t fix it mr zukerberg

    • Caitriona says:

      FB are obsessed about what it’s users are doing or not doing. As you point out, it’s bordering on stalking!
      I only use FB to chat to friends, rarely upload onto it and find it intrusive into peoples’ lives! A few days ago I didn’t check my FB page & got an email telling me off and a brief summary on what everyone else was up to in my absence. Thing is that even if you deactivate your account, it can be reactiviated again, it’s not closed. Which is why I upload as little as possible.

    • Brian Maher says:

      Facebook has been making these kind of changes for years and some worse than the recent role out. The truth is all your friends, colleagues, associates and family use facebook – while that remains the case you will simply put up with it – like the rest of us.

    • Alan says:

      I couldn’t disagree with this article anymore. Some of the points you are making are ridiculous and completely untrue.
      First Facebook has got its 750 million users by changing the platforms layouts and becoming more focused on the individual than the whole group. If they did what you seem to be hinting at and left it as it is now well then what would stop anyone else overtaking them or Facebook becoming another Bebo or MySpace.
      Yes it has copied a number of things from Google plus but I don’t see how this is a bad thing? Google plus had better photos so Facebook focused on photos. How is this bad?
      Facebook doesn’t “arrange my friends into lists” or “constant updates about what everyone is up to.” Facebook is giving you the feature to put your friends into different lists, if you want to, if you don’t want to then don’t. I don’t understand where you are getting this idea were Facebook constantly updating you on everything everyone else is doing because with the new features on Facebook, it is doing the actual opposite. It takes their general information that you may not want to know out of your news feed but for some people who still do want to know they have left a small box on the corner of your screen. If anything the generally useless information that you don’t want to know about your friends is now gone from where you spend most of your time on Facebook but still leaving people the option to see what people are up to if they want.
      “Remember when things were simpler?” You are starting to sound like everyone else when change happens on the Internet. First they complain, then they tell all their friends that they are not going to use that site anymore and then finally don’t leave Facebook and just get used to the new changes. Every time something happens new on the Internet people give out about it but then in a few weeks time get used to it and realised its for the best.
      You can keep flirting with Google plus but in the end it’s going to break your heart because it’s not Facebook.
      In this case, it really is you, not facebook.

    • We’ve already had some of this discussion on twitter, Alan, but 140 characters is quite limiting.

      You say Facebook doesn’t arrange lists. It does – or at least for me and many other friends. I logged into my page after the changes to find friends had been organised into lists of people I worked with, family, etc. I didn’t ask it to do that for me. It just created them. Sure, you can add friends to close friends, acquaintances etc, you are completely correct there. And you don’t have to use Facebook’s created lists, and they aren’t ranking my friends as such, but they’re still creating lists on your behalf. It’s another thing I have to undo. Thanks, but no thanks.

      From Facebook’s blog:

      “To make lists incredibly easy and even more useful, we’re announcing three improvements:

      * Smart lists – You’ll see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you–like your work, school, family and city.
      * Close Friends and Acquaintances lists – You can see your best friends’ photos and posts in one place, and see less from people you’re not as close to.
      * Better suggestions – You can add the right friends to your lists without a lot of effort.”

      The copnstant updates: The scrolling newsfeed in the corner shows me everything everyone does. Comment on a photo? Tell the world. Someone likes a status? Why not throw that in there too. These were things that were previously filtered out of my newsfeed. I now have to unsubscribe to certain updates from people to stop that constant round of updates in the corner. That small box is annoying, and like many other people, I don’t really want it.

      Improvements are what keep Facebook on top. But I think – in my opinion – a lot of these improvements don’t add to the site. They just make it more annoying. Facebook is becoming increasingly complex to use, and more frustrating for many people as a result.

      Of course, not everyone will agree, and that is the great thing about opinons and blogs – you can argue your point. Some of the changes – how photos are displayed in the newsfeed for example – are a genuine improvement, I think. But as others have commented below, everything else just a little bit cluttered.

      Having said that, I agree most people will complain for a few days and then get on with it. I just find myself using facebook less everytime they “improve” it. And that’s not an argument that should start “In my da…, it’s from an average user point of view. From the complaining in my newsfeed over the past few days, I’m not the only one.

    • Ruby says:

      You’re right about them organising lists for you- mine were so random that I deleted them all and made a new one of everyone I had showing on my old news feed. Problem solved, for now.

    • Naoise Mack says:

      Zuckerberg’s monster has got completely out of control – it has surpassed many times over the surveillance George Orwell imagined in Nineteen Eight Four.