Before I rant out my frustration on the topic, I would like to point out that I am one of the early adopters of Facebook, almost at the same time it was launched in India. What really drew me away from Orkut & MySpace was the simplicity Facebook had. It was neat, no stupid posts and certainly no mindless app updates. What I see now is so noisy, that it has become too difficult to make any sense out of it.The whole idea behind Facebook was to bring the real world social networking on the web but what it has become is way beyond comprehension. This was before these new features like ‘Lists’ and ‘Subscribe’ were launched.
In past four days, I have been trying hard to understand how to make the best out of these new features, and I came to a conclusion. This is certainly not working for me. There are some reasons to this delirious idea of mine, which I would like to share here.
Subscribe is just another noise:
Mind you, When I say subscribe, I don’t mean the subscribe options for each individual you have in friend list. I mean the ability to follow/subscribe to the public posts of the person not in the friend list. To this point whoever I have been interested in following, I have done so with Twitter. It most conveniently kept my personal and professional worlds apart. Now with subscribe its certainly going to get messed up. I wouldn’t want to follow people I already follow on twitter, which leaves me pondering, who should I follow? If I am really interested in following what someone has to say, why not go ahead and do so on twitter or Google +, why with Facebook? It’s just another ‘Follow’ with bits and pieces, here and there. Also by following I add a stream of information coming from that person to my wall of mess.
Also the ability to filter the posts in subscribe is still something I am not too comfortable with. How does Facebook know that which matter can be or cannot be of relevance to me?
Lists are just tad too late:
‘Lists’ to me looks like an imitation of Google +’s ‘Circle’. I remember the time it took me to sort out my friends in circles, but the question is am I willing to do the same. Will I give that much effort to sort 500 of my friends, again? Most certainly not. Personally, if I want to share something which is specific to a certain group of people, I do so on Google+.
Also I don’t see why most of the casual facebookers would bother to do it; may be a close friend’s list, that’s the most I expect them to put their effort in. But then again I can be completely wrong about this, lets see where this road leads.
Nothing new in these ‘features’
I know, I know. Many of you won’t agree with my point here. You, will assume that I am pointing out that these features already exist on other social networks and Facebook is trying to copy them. Well, they most certainly are trying to do so, but that’s not what’s wrong here.
The thing is, to me Facebook was something completely different to what it is now. I remember the first time I read somewhere 6-7 years ago about this awesome social networking site which blew everyone’s mind and how it spread like a wild fire. I expect more when it comes to Facebook and not imitations. They have been brilliant in past and this certainly isn’t the right way to go.
It’s not just the way most of the users use Facebook
One major reason for Google +’s low user base is the complexity it takes you to settle in. Facebook, on the other hand, was a very simple site and took minutes to get started. Users have become accustomed to such a simple experience. This new ‘Lists’ will either be ignored by most of the users or will annoy a lot of them if forced.
The race to compete is making Facebook more convoluted.
If anything, I think their need to copy and catch up with new breakthroughs from other social networks (i.e. Google+, Foursquare and Twitter) is actually making their product more convoluted and less appealing. Less is more in Facebook’s case. That was the genius of Facebook from day 1. You could strip down Facebook to probably 5 core features and it would still remain relevant and interesting because of others ability (developers and friends) urge to create and share.
The essential point is social networking is not just about adding hell of privacy features and tons of competing technologies, its about KISS (keep it simple and straightforward)
Until recently, i.e. until apps started to bloat my wall, I thought very highly of Facebook. Right now I am in two minds. It certainly is going to stay, it will also earn huge profits, no doubt, but it won’t be the same social network I joined back in 2007. Facebook is falling into a trap set up by its competitors.