Where were you when your mom showed up on Facebook? How did you feel? Did the walls start to close in and a sharp panic run up your spine as you frantically began deleting every picture of yourself toasting a cup of whatever mix drink you preferred at the age of 19? The opening of the social network Facebook from strictly college students to the general public seems like the first time the format became a chore, but it wouldn’t be the last.
Within the last three years, Facebook has drastically changed its layouts, features, and privacy settings four times, each being met with a large amount of criticism and disdain. The latest update, that went live Wednesday, has been met with everything from misspelled jeering to mass threats of defection to the recently public released Google +. What are the new changes to our beloved streaming social life, and are they all as bad as they are made out to be by the hating masses? Here’s the Blast Magazine breakdown.
New News Feed
What is it? The New Feed that once showed you a list of chronological events in one tab and a list of “Most Popular” in a second has been replaced by a single feed that will show you both. The order in which these will appear will depend on the last time you visited Facebook, with “Top Stories” appearing first if you haven’t visited for an extended period of time and “Recent Stories” appearing if you recently checked.
What’s it supposed to do? Facebook’s official blog claims ““When you visit Facebook, you should see the things you’re most interested in…”. This new feed will attempt to prioritize your stories in order of what you are most likely interested in seeing.
Like or Dislike? DISLIKE — Both Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury warned us of a time when computers would tell us what we should care about and how that would bring an end to human culture as we know it. But outside of the doomsday literary references, more often than not the algorithm used to determine what you want will misunderstand you completely, making a hassle out of something that was once effortless.
What is it? A sort of “Inception” Facebook within a Facebook, The Ticker acts as a second, smaller Newsfeed at the top right of the main screen that displays real time updates.
What’s it supposed to do? While the new main News Feed will update you with your “Top News Stories” based on a new algorithm the company has developed, The Ticker will update in real time the newest occurrences on Facebook for those who wish to see events chronologically.
Like or Dislike? DISLIKE — This happens from time to time in social networks where the powers that be take what you used to have in a previous version and kind of shrink it down so they can eventually completely cut it out. Its slow death and it’s never fun to watch.
The Subscribe Button
What is it ? A new option in the way of what you see from individuals on your feed, choosing to “Subscribe” to a person rather than simply “Friend” them allows you to filter the content that you are made aware of.
What is it supposed to do? Allows users to filter out some of the excess posting that some of their friends tend to put up. Also allows you to completely filter out people’s posts without having to unfriend them.
Like or Dislike? LIKE — Facebook’s take on what Google + introduced with the “Circles” concept, it’s always good to have the option to take the coward’s way out when you don’t want to hear from certain people.
The New Friend Button with Smart Lists
What is it? A more detailed way to categorize the people on your friends list between “Close Friend” or “Acquaintance”. Also added is a section of “Smart Lists” allowing users to quickly categorize their friends into different listings such as school mates or family.
What is it supposed to do? Along with the subscribe option, this feature is another way to filter some unwanted posts from showing on your feed by disavowing minor posts put on by people marked as acquaintances. Also the smart lists are used to remind you where you know some of your friends from.
Like or Dislike? LIKE — Really we should be taking steps as a culture towards talking to people who post to many useless things on the feed and getting used to saying “We can still be friends, just not on Facebook.” But since the path to Hell is paved with good intentions, another option to skirt around people is nice.
The Smart List seems a bit useless, but it is a skipable step to friending someone so it won’t be held against the judgment.
Bigger Photos on the Feed
What is it? Photos now appear larger on the feed.
What’s it supposed to do? Make pictures bigger on the feed.
Like or Dislike? LIKE — The pictures are bigger! Bigger and on the feed! Isn’t that great?!?!!
New Top Right Corner
What is it? The original top right corner of the Facebook page has been changed from including “Home,” “Profile” and “Account” to two quick links between your profile page and the main news feed. A drop down menu has been included to allow users to change to using Facebook as their “Page” if they have one.
What’s it supposed to do Allow for a simpler interface and make it clearer when a user is logged onto their “Page” and when they are logged in as their personal profile.
Like or Dislike? DISLIKE — The biggest problem that occurs when a website changes interface is the time it takes to get used to the muscle memory motions that have come with using the site so long. Going from three options to two is a bit of a superfluous change and users will find themselves taking that extra few seconds to get it right for a while.
Those are the major changes made to the site, here’s a quick list of minor changes:
- You no longer need 25 likes on a business page in order to grab a custom URL. LIKE
- There is now a “Friend Activity” feed on business pages so that people can see how their friends interact with your page. LIKE
- Facebook will now email you a daily summary of the “less important” notifications instead of individual ones. DISLIKE — I have never understood why people would need Facebook items emailed to them
- Posts or comments in another language prompt the appearance of a “translate” button. LIKE
- You can now post birthday wishes to peoples’ walls without leaving your homepage by clicking the birthday’s link in the upper right corner. DISLIKE — Nothing says “I don’t care” like not bothering to go to someones profile in order to write the classic “Happy Birthday dudeeeeee”
The small changes are OK, the big changes are a pain, and all the changes are unnecessary.
Our complaints about the New Facebook are the same as most people’s. That being no one had any real problem with what Facebook was. It was quick, free, and has been a standard in most people’s life for the last half decade.But the company has the Myspace train of thought, which reads “any new threat to our social network supremacy must be outdone ten fold” with the results being an overblown web of useless features smothering the original format that got us into the network in the first place.