— Stephen Marche, Is Facebook Making Us Lonely? - The Atlantic
Realization: Deleting all the old, embarrassing FB posts on your wall from whenever ago to ensure that potential employers/dates/friends/human-beings-with-whom-you-interact won’t easily discover the facts hidden behind them is like the modern day equivalent of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for our teched out world. Sure, it’s inverted (you’re stopping people from knowing those memories, not yourself), but given how significant Facebook is when it comes to our identity and memory, it kind of is a sort of forgetting. If it isn’t Facebook official, it didn’t happen.
That awkward moment when someone you became FB friends with about a month ago starts appearing in your “people you may know” pop-up box…
Oh, Facebook/its users. Gotta love it/them.
After some reading fun (thanks, Mashable!), I have a few more thoughts on the new Facebook upgrades.
- Marketers are gonna have to be less spammy. Yay! Minimizing spam and white noise is always good. I’m always up for more engaging messages from brands that I care enough about to “like.” However, I hope it doesn’t turn into brands commenting on things that I post that might pertain to their brand. As in, the example in the above article, I go for a run, and Nike posts something like “great jog!” Can brands post on their fans posts? I thought they couldn’t, but maybe they now can (again, inferring from the article, perhaps wrongly). Also, I don’t think “like” is going to become less important to marketers. It will just no longer be an end unto itself (was it ever?). With netting eyeballs becoming harder and harder, brands will need to become more creative to keep them, but that doesn’t change the fact that people still have to like said brands for any of that to matter (at least on FB). Perhaps the book has moved further into the realm of focusing on keeping users as opposed to gaining them, but it’s always a ballet between those two goals.
- Oh my god, you guys, it’s not that different. Visually, yes, and I’m not a big fan of it so far. (I get that the picture at the top is supposed to be like a banner, but how many people have great pictures just lying around that are so horizontal and perfect for that purpose? Other than photo snobs? Also, the boxy look isn’t clean and just reminds me of MySpace. But I’ve inarticulately said all this before. However, maybe it’ll improve its look over time as it works some bugs out. And maybe the boxes it eliminates will create a cleaner look overall? I dunno.) But when it comes to what it actually enables, it’s not that revolutionary. Obviously, 2012 Facebook is going to be completely different than 2004 Facebook, in terms of its underlying philosophy, but when it comes to that philosophy, it doesn’t seem like 2012 Facebook is going to differ that markedly from 2010 Facebook. We already could scroll through a user’s history on the site. It just took a really long time. This alteration makes it easier for people to do that. (Gotta admit, I’m kinda dying to apply it to my profile to see just what my first post was back in 2005.) But that isn’t a revolution; it’s a user-friendly tweak. (In a currently not-that-pretty look.)
- Related: All the other new stuff also isn’t that new. You already could “verb” any “noun.” It was called updating your status. I get that this is different, but I don’t know that I’m on board with how it’s different. There was a simplicity with only being able to “like” something. Offhand, this mainly reminds me of all the emoticons you could apply on MySpace, which makes my skin crawl a bit. Of course, this could end up working out nicely if developers don’t go too crazy, but I won’t hold my breath. (Remember what happened when the first Facebook apps rolled out? The Super Friends or whatever box? I expect to see Farmville become a verb.) But again, I’m trying to reserve judgment. I suppose I’m mostly afraid of how this will affect my habits. I like Foursquare and Instagram, and I like linking them to Facebook and Twitter. (Predominately because that way I don’t have to post the same thing twice to different platforms.) But the new maps feature for Facebook does seem pretty cool. Will I leave Foursquare? Will I do both? Will I not use the maps feature and have a paltry timeline? Will the timeline recognize Foursquare in any way? (Please integrate it somehow; it would make my life so much easier.) Same applies to listening to music and watching videos. I already could do this, but now there’s a new way to do it that better meshes with the platform. How much do I gain by adopting it? More importantly, how much do I lose by not (again, based on the timeline feature).
- Then there’s the scrapbook aspect. This is cool, but, again, as I’ve already said, who is going to waste time to go back and repopulate their entire lives on Facebook? How narcissistic does Facebook think we are? And that is coming from someone who spends a good hour in front of a mirror every day. Purely for the sake of the view. And in addition to the “problem of getting married twice,” there’s the problem of Facebook knowing where exactly info should be placed on the timeline. Going forward, it doesn’t seem this’ll be a problem, because if you add any old content, you’ll presumably upload it on a certain point on the timeline. But what about pictures a friend added a year ago of you three years ago? Logically, those would end up a year ago on your timeline, not three years ago. Will you be able to change that? These aren’t major concerns, to be sure, but just throwing out some minor flaws for the sake of it.
Overall, the upgrades seem helpful, but I’m interested to see how they’ll affect media habits (my big concern), whether or not they’ll turn Facebook into the new MySpace (my big fear), and how the users will react (can Facebook be defeated at this point?).
I also don’t understand why they changed the newsfeed one week and the profiles the next week. They don’t necessarily go together, and they could have very easily been spaced out by about a half a year to give people less ammo against the company. (Too much too soon!) All this leaves me remembering a line from Friends (always a good sign, amirite): “Well, you don’t want to try too many things too fast. You know what happened to the girl who tried too many things too fast? Yeah, she died.” (The delivery works better when it’s coming from Jennifer Aniston, oddly enough.)