Sunday, July 27, 2008

"You Just Don't Like Change"

The title, taken from a friend's comment, is clear and correct. I don't like change. I'm adverse to it; I generally shy away from it. New functions, new situations, new technology, etc. I don't like it, I don't want it, and I don't need it. My mother likes to tell a story about how when I was learning to walk, Elvis came on the radio, my knees buckled, and I went down. It served to highlight to things: my on-going love affair from an early age with Elvis, and also that I didn't try to walk again for a couple of months. It is used often as an example of the fact that I generally don't do something until I'm confident I can do it successfully. It is also pulled out to explain why, when Elvis comes unexpectedly out of a jukebox or radio, I generally still end up tumbling to the ground. And all this is true and a personality quirk/defect -its characteristic defined differently depending on who is asked.

But this Facebook thing isn't about my aversion to change, not entirely. For one, I didn't wait for the change to come to me. I sought it out. I went to because I was curious. But my experience there has left me scampering back to my old ways. My friend went on to say, "I find the new facebook nicely organized"; I don't find that to be wholly correct. I think it holds the potential to be nicely organized. But at this stage, it is still a hot mess. The nice, clean lines of the old Facebook are smudged. The wall on the new version is not just a place to leave messages for friends but also incorporates the person's minifeed. I find it distracting, and not exactly organized. In fact, I would characterize it as "disorderly". The different screens are a nice idea, but they're still not all there. For instance, I like the "buttons" that are available below a person's profile picture and the various options like "view photos of", "poke", "send message to". Those icons allow for easier and faster navigation, especially since everyone has different applications and different placement of those applications. If I want to see someone's flair board, it is much easier to click on the white star in the red circle than to scroll down their page and scan for it. Same thing goes with the "boxes" subsection. It is a good idea, but is missing a time-saving feature that is available on the "old" Facebook. 

"I'm sure once the new Facebook goes live for everyone, people will start to get used to it and then it'll be comfortable", my friend continues. Which is probably true. People are amazing at adapting to new environments and stimuli. But that doesn't mean that the product is better, or that we as consumers should have to become more comfortable with the new product. I'd remind everyone that plenty of Microsoft users downgraded their computers from Vista, but the Apple commercials already have that covered. I would basically suggest the same thing for Facebook. Some people are going to like the more streamlined, older, version. Some people will take to the newer version. And I will probably get the hang of the new Facebook sooner rather than later. That doesn't mean that I should forego favored functionality, or that we should all buy into the mindset that newer is always better, or that a prototype that sends its users scampering for an earlier model cannot and should not be improved upon. So with that said, I have problems with the new Facebook; and until my wall functions as it always has again, I'm going to continue to compare it to the brown acid.

Edited to gripe about more issues: I don't want my friends all schmooshed together. I want my 123 friends neatly organized into their different networks. I want my photos divided into ones put up by me, and ones put up by others. These are functions on the old Facebook that help with navigation and help organize the system to better service the user. And these are things that the new Facebook should have theoretically already had or could easily get.


jjfs85 said...

me = pwnd. Every gripe you mentioned here about facebook is totally right. And to browse and add apps now, you have to get to your applications screen, which is not a straightforward task now.

petpluto said...

Hee! Thanks, JJ. It's always a good feeling when I managed to convince someone! I'm also glad that you don't mind being quoted; I was thinking about asking you whether or not you would care, but then I got lazy and figured our friendship was pretty strong!