During a much-buzzed-about press conference yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced two significant changes to Facebook: Users will now be able to download all their data to their desktops for safe keeping, and they’ll also be able to more easily segment their friends into groups.
It’s nice to see the site evolve, and for Zuck to continue introducing forward-thinking innovations that make Facebook an even more important part of our lives.
(And I’m sure he liked taking more attention away from The Social Network too.)
Except it isn’t so nice. Quite frankly, I’m getting really tired of Zuck changing the site on me every few months, or even more frequently than that.
In the social media world, as far as I’m concerned, Facebook is like chicken soup or macaroni and cheese. It’s online comfort food.
Strip away all the games and the videos and flashy stuff, and Facebook is reduced to a site where you can connect with friends and, perhaps more importantly, reconnect with people you used to know.
As websites go, especially social media ones, it’s about the connections more than the content. And the soft, blue color, the simple, lower-case logo, and the relatively basic design only add to the warm feeling you get when the site comes up on your screen.
Personally, while I’ll post things to my profile page throughout the day, I often won’t read all the posts until I get home at night. That’s when I sit at the computer, and for about 15 or 20 minutes I’ll scan through every single status update, news article, photo, video, and other item my friends have posted.
Yes, I know I’m a freak, and that’s not something the typical user does. But I do, and it’s one of the ways I like to relax at night.
Facebook is one of those things you can count on: When there’s news to share, you post it to Facebook. When there’s some big news event, you look to the site to see how your friends have reacted or what funny comments they have.
And so on and so forth.
Everything in its place, and you know how to navigate it all. It’s consistent, it’s predictable, it’s good.
As I said, it’s like online comfort food.
And then Zuck goes and changes things on you, whether it’s by reorganizing the news feed or putting the birthdays in a different place or having your items display differently on your page, or whatever.
Facebook users know this kind of stuff happens all the time.
Now he’s made the experience of using the site different again with this new Groups thing.
Will it radically change how people use Facebook? That remains to be seen. All I know is one of my friends is already using it and I’m not sure I’m a fan of how it has affected me.
So here’s what I’m asking: Mark Zuckerberg, would it be so bad to just leave Facebook as-is for, like, six months or a year?
Make your subtle tweaks, clean up some code here and there. Fine. But don’t do anything else that’ll change the user experience for a while.
It seems like every time we get used to a change, you go and change the site again.
Nobody’s asking for this stuff; we like the site plenty right now.
Look: I get it. You need to move quickly in the social media space. Failing to evolve can seal your doom. But think of it this way: At this point, there are about 550 million Facebook users. Clearly you’ve already built a great site, and it’s not like there’s a mass exodus after every change.
Would it be so bad to do me and the rest of us this small favor and just back away from the computer and leave the site alone? Or, as my coworker Brian suggested, could you create a “Facebook Classic” version of the site that doesn’t include all this hoo-hah I don’t want?
I’m not threatening to close my account or anything, but as a loyal user and fan of Facebook, I’d like to see it maintain its place as my online comfort food for a while longer before you tinker with it again.