If you’re a Facebook user, then you’ll know that this week Facebook went under a big overhaul to your main page.
The main changes seem to be a twitter-like news ticker that continuously updates your friends activities, comments, statuses on your sidebar and a main newsfeed that decides for you what your top stories are that you should be reading rather than being able to see the most recent stories. Facebook had also added a Subscribe button recently to make it ‘easier’ to choose what you want to read
Essentially, Facebook has decided that what the user needs is its own personal newspaper. Yes, Facebook decided that, not you, the user. So Facebook has become your very own editor in which apparently you, the user, can choose what you want to read as long as it Facebook deems it newsworthy for you.
Now, I’m not one to bash a free service. Because lets be honest, that is exactly what Facebook is – free. Despite the fact that it makes its millions elsewhere, albeit from the personal information that you provide them
Feedback has been decidedly negative. In fact, most status updates I’ve seen in the last few days has been friends disgruntled, confused, annoyed and frustrated. Not really the kind of reaction Facebook may have wanted.
Facebook has gone on the defensive and claimed that its changes will include music and movie streaming services, to become all things to all people.
However, the real issue here is that Facebook is losing its core service and core audience. Users moved away from MySpace in their droves as MySpace tried to do the same thing that Facebook is doing here – moving towards being an all-encompassing entertainment network, not a personal lifestyle organiser that proved so attractive in the first place. People found Facebook and used it because of its simplicity and ease of use, not despite it. It attracted the old and the young, advanced users and beginners.
If users wanted Facebook to tell them what they wanted to read, they would go to a newspaper. If they wanted continuous news tickers from their friends, they will go to Twitter. At this point, most users want to be able to use Facebook as they want, not as they’re told
Ultimately, I can see Facebook making some subtle changes. I don’t think they’ll back down completely, but I can see them putting in some personalisation tools to allow users to choose how they want to see their page. Because if they don’t, despite how big Facebook is right now, I’m sure there’s another social network just waiting around the corner allowing people to do just that.