This morning I was thinking about Who Moved My Cheese, Spencer Johnson’s book about dealing with change. Once again, Facebook has made changes to its platform (and it appears the changes are coming fast and furious these days).
At a networking meeting this morning, a number of people approached me and exclaimed something to the extent of “isn’t it horrible what Facebook has done.” Their visible shock and worried tone would have led me to believe that Facebook now made it mandatory for all users to be subscribed to “Nazi Lovers Who Hurt Cute Dogs” Page. In actuality, all Facebook did was move some things around and change what users see when they first log in to the site. Nothing too drastic there. Last week’s “shocking” change was changing the default on email notifications. People revolted even though the setting can easily be changed back.
People don’t like having their cheese moved. It’s disconcerting once you get used to knowing where your cheese is all the time. However, people should take these Facebook updates in stride. As history has demonstrated, Facebook makes changes to its look and feel and people get upset. After a few weeks they are accustomed to the changes and all is well in the world once again. These updates that Facebook makes are not knee jerk reactions and they certainly are not because some summer intern at the company thought it would be cool to change where the news feed is located on the page. These are calculated updates and tweaks to the platform that are done for a reason. You might like some at first and feel frustrated with others. Ultimately, we will all get used to the changes and the site will be better for it.
One change that I have already embraced is the birthday update. Instead of going to each birthday celebrant’s page separately, one can now click the birthday gift icon and leave a birthday greeting to all celebrants at once. That is a time-saving tool that came about because Facebook recognized the culture of birthday greetings on the site.
Remember, Facebook is a free service to 800 million users worldwide. We pay for our account by allowing advertising. The company has a right to tinker with the look of the site in order to keep us dialed in longer so our eyes glance at more of their paid advertising. Not all of their changes are going to be positive, but for the most part we will learn to adapt. After all, this is still a very young company that is creating the best practices in the field of social networking. Rather than creating (or joining) Facebook groups named “I hate Facebook’s changes” and “Facebook changes too much”, try to familiarize yourself with the new layout.
Here is the blog post from Facebook’s Mark Tonkelowitz explaining the recent site updates.
When you visit Facebook, you should see the things you’re most interested in, like status updates from your family and closest friends. Last week, we announced improvements to Friend Lists and a newSubscribe button to help you see more of what you care about, and less of what you don’t.
But it’s not just the people you hear from that make your News Feed interesting. It also matters how much you visit Facebook. If you haven’t returned in a week, you may want to see a summary of top stories first. If you’ve already visited several times that day, you probably care more about recent news.
Starting today, it will be easier to keep up with the people in your life no matter how frequently or infrequently you’re on Facebook.
News Feed: See What Matters at the Top
When you pick up a newspaper after not reading it for a week, the front page quickly clues you into the most interesting stories. In the past, News Feed hasn’t worked like that. Updates slide down in chronological order so it’s tough to zero in on what matters most.
Now, News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper. You won’t have to worry about missing important stuff. All your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top. If you haven’t visited Facebook for a while, the first things you’ll see are top photos and statuses posted while you’ve been away. They’re marked with an easy-to-spot blue corner.
If you check Facebook more frequently, you’ll see the most recent stories first. Photos will also be bigger and easier to enjoy while you’re scrolling through.
Ticker: Join Friends in Real-Time
News Feed often has a time lag. Usually when you’re on Facebook, a lot of your friends are too. Until now, there hasn’t been an easy way to see and chat with your friends about photos, articles, and other things they’re posting in real-time. The new ticker helps you do just that.
Ticker shows you the same stuff you were already seeing on Facebook, but it brings your conversations to life by displaying updates instantaneously. Now when a friend comments, asks a question or shares something like a check in, you’ll be able to join the conversation right away. Click on anything in ticker to see the full story and chime in – without losing your place.
If you have a wider screen, slide the grey bar between ticker and chat up or down to adjust how many updates you see at a time. To control who can see your updates anywhere on Facebook, including in ticker and News Feed, adjust your sharing control or apps settings.