Facebook Takes the Cake

What a surprise when I logged into Facebook and my Home Page didn’t look like it normally does! What got into my machine? Who got a hold of my account? Facebook did. While I was sleeping Thursday night they were rolling out changes. They say it’s “a test”. I’ve registered my opinion and others have, too, and hopefully, they will change it back.

Here is what happened: The thing that is only annoying is the Ticker on the right side of the page. Every single thing that any of my friends, or pages that I’ve Liked, posts on any wall that is open to view by the Public or Friends of Friends, is popping up in a scrolling box. It reminds me of the flashy junk on poorly designed websites. I can ignore it if I concentrate really hard. The worst is that the Recent Posts choice is gone. My lists are gone. I can no longer scroll down the News Feed and see only the posts that I have time for; I have to see everything or nothing. And it’s divided into things like “Recent Posts” and “Top Stories” and “Last (However Many) Hours”. I have no idea how they determine what is “Top.” Normally, if I only had time to check family, I’d do that and come back later and catch up on everyone else. I would also only see my pages when I had time to read whole news articles. Not anymore. And until they put it back, if indeed they do put it back like it was, I am not even signing in for days at a time. I’m going from one who used Facebook up to the line that one doesn’t want to cross (addiction) to one who won’t even sign in. All in one day. And in the meantime, Google + (what we like to call Google Circles) is looking pretty good. In fact, I think I’ll start sending out a few invitations today.

When I went to Facebook’s Help Section I found out this started at least two weeks ago and no one seems to like it. Why on earth would a company do something that takes control away from the user and causes so much consternation? I have a theory. It’s only a theory and I don’t have a degree in business, but I’ve learned a bit about how things work.

One of my solutions to this (among other possibilities, including closing my account) is to UN-Like most of the pages I’ve Liked and whittle down my friends list (don’t want to do that!) drastically. I figured if that I, and LOTS of other folks would do these two things, then Facebook would not be getting as much revenue from ads. You know the ads on the right-hand side of your screen? They are geared to page content. The fewer items of wide variety in the News Feed, the fewer ads of any variety in the right side bar. Thinking about that is what led me to the theory of why they did this.

Maybe, just maybe, the reason Facebook wants all the pages we ever liked and all the posts we don’t have time to check to be in the News Feed, is because it will increase their ad revenue. Even the Ticker would entice us to click on more pages, if we didn’t try to ignore it. More posts = more ads.

Hm. Seems like I remember a (can’t say “another social networking site” because this is only my theory) social networking site that wanted to have more ads displayed. They made the site harder to navigate so users had to click on more pages which gave way to more ads being displayed. They let profit be their driving force for their business, rather than customer service. What was their name? Oh, yeah. MySpace.

ADDENDUM: (September 18) Facebook has brought in a way to use lists again. You can also subscribe to each friend individually to adjust settings for how much of what you want to see of their posts. If you choose not to go through your entire list to make the choices, Facebook will choose for you. There is a default already on some things. They have come up with “Smart Lists” of their own which you can use, or not. Also, an algorithm to determine whose posts you will see and how often, if you don’t make the choice yourself. They think this is easier to manage and less cumbersome than the way it was. Whatever. If you are on Facebook and you are frustrated you might want to check this out.