The users are quiet – they must be content. Let’s screw up their worlds!

So, Facebook gives us the following as an answer to “Why is Facebook updating the site?”

Facebook is updating the home page with the goals of providing immediate news about your friends and giving you more control over the information you receive. With the new design, we hope that the home page will contain stories that are most relevant to you. We also want to simplify the site and make it easier for you to share content with the people you care about.

The real-time stream on your home page will allow you to see what your friends are doing right now. You will be able to choose what types of stories appear by using the Filters in the left sidebar to sort your stream by Friend Lists or applications. The highlights section in the right sidebar will contain information that Facebook thinks you’ll find most interesting. We’ve also made it easier to share content by adding the publisher to your home page and friends’ profiles, as well as your own profile.

As always, your privacy settings will remain in effect to ensure that stories about you are only visible to the people whom you wish to see them.

They say they are giving us more control. I have to disagree with them. In fact, I find that I have LESS control!

  • I do not get to determine what does and does not show on my News Feed.
  • I am unable to say “I don’t want to see when people are sending things with applications.”
  • With the previous FB version, I could configure the news feed to show more about statuses and when photos were posted, and less about notes and links.

You will be able to choose what types of stories appear by using the Filters in the left sidebar to sort your stream by Friend Lists or applications.” I wonder if they realize how contradictory that is. The filters don’t let us choose what TYPES of stories appear…they decide which FRIENDS appear on the feed. And did anyone notice that THEY chose which applications would serve as filters? Not everyone cares about Twitter. Not everyone cares about Pieces of Flair.

With the new design, we hope that the home page will contain stories that are most relevant to you.” How, I wonder, is the fact that one of my friends superpoked 14 of their friends – none of whom are on my friends list – relevant to me? Oh, and each of the 14 superpokes is listed individually. Isn’t that fun?

The highlights section in the right sidebar will contain information that Facebook thinks you’ll find most interesting.” Ah…the information that FACEBOOK thinks I’ll find most interesting. Yes…now Facebook is doing my thinking for me. Outstanding. What I don’t understand is how the fact that two of my friends “like” a photo that was posted by someone who is NOT my friend is interesting to me? What can I do with that information?

What purpose does it serve to put wall-to-wall conversations on the News Feed? Facebook is forcing me to eavesdrop on conversations! Yes, it’s true that things posted on walls are out there for anyone to see (providing that “anyone” is a friend). But I’m sure that if ‘J’ wanted me to be a part of her conversation with ‘M’ I would have been invited to the party! No, there are no secrets in that conversation. But it is not relevant to me because it is not MY conversation. Where is the privacy in that?

I also wonder what kind of actual testing they did for this new update. It hasn’t been that long since the last one. I would think that it would take longer than that to do thorough testing before releasing it to everyone. There are a lot of bugs right now…I’ve reported a few already:

  1. The News Feed is not consistent. Not everything shows up in “real time” (which they seem so proud of). And, really, isn’t “real time” the same as the “live feed” they had before? Oh, wait, it’s not! We have to REFRESH to see any changes. That’s not real time. Also, items disappear and then reappear on the News Feed – and there is no rhyme nor reason to it.
  2. Photos that are added directly on Facebook do not show up on the “real time” News Feed. However, if you import them from flickr.com or picasa or your iphone, they show up just fine.
  3. Notes that are imported from other sources (as this one will be) do not show up on the “real time” News Feed. However, if you add them directly on Facebook, they will appear.
  4. The Highlights sidebar that they are so proud of doesn’t calculate correctly. I’m attending an event next Saturday. The Highlights sidebar says that 2 of my friends are also attending. In reality, there are 10 friends attending. I’m a member of a group supporting my cousin. The Highlights sidebar says that 25 of my friends also joined. Oh wait, now it’s 30. Oh, no, it’s actually 28. I wonder how many will have joined the next time I refresh.

The actual layout of the new Home page really isn’t all that different than it was before. Things are larger now…more crammed. But, in all, it’s the same 3-column format. The problem is that it loses its functionality. The Powers that Be at Facebook clearly don’t actually USE Facebook. I think they are all on Twitter, to be honest with you. My Home page and wall now look like big chat rooms, to be honest. I can’t tell the difference between a wall post and a status update. And what is with the comments at the TOP of a link or video post? Man is that annoying! Everything is in the same font. All pictures are the same size.

It’s cluttered.

It’s not user-friendly.

It’s just plain bad.

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Posted on March 15, 2009, in Rants. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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