Facebook: The updates and the furor

someecards.com - Glad the Facebook redesign helped distract you from everything actually wrong with your lifeYesterday, "English UK" was trending on Twitter. Why? Because masses of people, upset by the latest Facebook updates were advising others to change their language to English UK to go back to the old settings. The first time I saw a tweet, I replied to the tweeter something along the lines of, "Isn't that just delaying the inevitable?" They didn't respond, so I guess they didn't appreciate the point I was trying to make.

I've grown used to the inevitable backlash whenever Facebook does an update. I've even had frustrations with their updates myself. But this one? I actually like what they've done. Okay, the top stories part...that's not my favorite, but you can "train" it to do a better job of picking top stories for you. Besides, in the Web version, I don't find the top stories to be all that cumbersome - mobile is a different story. (Facebook doesn't do mobile well, but I'll save more on that for another post.)

The site, AllFacebook.com posted SIX stories throughout yesterday blasting Facebook for the latest updates - either by criticizing them or telling users how they can circumvent them. A seventh story covering a feature that hadn't received much attention still took its fair share of digs at the changes. One new feature that's got people in an uproar is the ticker in the top right of the page.

Really? I actually find it's useful. I don't get all these little updates in my newsfeed about who likes what anymore. It's tucked away in the ticker AND I get to see real-time updates that I can click and comment on. And if I don't want to use it? It's really easy to ignore. I really don't see the problem.

The top stories being added to the top of the newsfeed have been the biggest item of controversy in yesterday's change resistance (let's be honest; that's what it is - people HAVE admitted to it). While I've never been a fan of the top stories Facebook chooses, the way it's implemented now gives me a clear way to manipulate what I see.

Facebook enhanced their list functions, but it's still as clunky and un-user-friendly as ever. The smart lists are great, but if you want to build and maintain lists, it's slightly better than creating Twitter lists. As much as I like the filtering capability of lists, I'm not a fan of going through hundreds of people to do it. (Quick side note: Google's circles are just as difficult to manage when you have hundreds in them. The best thing they have going for them is drag and drop.) Speaking of drag and drop, that would have been a great feature for Facebook to add. Alas, they probably didn't want G+ to claim they're copying. So, they made enhancements, but left it in the classic Facebook style for the most part.

  • I like that I can approve tags now.

  • I like that I can share public statuses. (It's important to note that limited statuses are not sharable - has Facebook finally learned its lesson on the importance of privacy?)

  • I like that I don't have to constantly click on the "most recent" link to get to the most recent stories.

What is all the fuss about?

Change. One little word that has huge implications for people. A lot of people don't agree that Facebook is making its interface better. That's a subjective conclusion and it will be different for everyone. I like a lot of what Facebook has done, but I don't think all of it was a homerun. I'm certainly not going to leave as some have threatened.

Here's the fun part: It isn't over. More changes are coming. As for the writer's suggestion that Facebook allow users to convert back and take time to adjust? They've done that before and it doesn't make the transition easier; it just delays it. I say rip the bandaid. People will adjust.

My RSS reader pretty much exploded with Facebook stories today. Here are a few more with slightly less biased views compared to the All Facebook stories above:

Hubze Blog - Hate The New Facebook Newsfeed?

HubSpot - Facebook Enhances Newsfeed and Introduces Ticker

paidContent - With Update, Facebook Is Aiming To Be More Social

GigaOM - Facebook wants to be the newspaper of your dreams

What did YOU think of the latest Facebook changes? If you didn't like them, what is your biggest problem with the update? If you did like them, what's the best part of the update?
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