Facebook’s done it again.
In the five years since its inception, Facebook has undergone many different transformations. It opened up from a Harvard-only service to colleges and universities all around the country. Then when it added high schoolers, people got angry. When it opened to the general population, people got angrier. It started the news-feed, an aggregation of our Friends’ various activities–if they RSVPed to an event, joined a group, or, the most scandalous, started or ended a relationship. People got angry then, too. At the end of last summer, when Facebook debuted their most drastic layout changes to date, people rejected Facebook’s claims that the site was now more streamlined and neater, instead insisting that the new site was complicated and hard to navigate.
Every time Facebook changes, there’s an outcry. Groups are formed–like Petition Against the New Facebook and The New Facebook Layout Sucks!–and people whine and moan endlessly until about a month passes, and we all adjust. While there is no real way to tell, I’ve always suspected that Facebook knew what it was doing when it made these changes, that they actually served some sort of greater purpose that ultimately made the website better.
But when I logged into my Facebook and saw these most recent changes, I was a little peeved. Not to beat a dead horse, but the new layout sucks.
I won’t go through every minute change that’s been made (like the fact that Facebook now automatically assumes that I want to comment on every single thing any friend of mine has ever done or the increase in font size, which just makes everything look sloppy to me), but the biggest change is that the newsfeed is now called a stream. And it’s live. So as your friends change their statuses, add photos, RSVP to events, your stream is updated; you can see these changes in real-time.
If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because it is. Facebook’s new layout is a pretty obvious rip-off of Twitter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Twitter is a great site. But Facebook just can’t work in the same way. Twitter is about a constant flow of information, but the information is capped at 140 characters. Facebook has so much more going on. Trying to create a constant flow of information that includes events, photos, notes, wall posts, status updates, application additions, and more–it’s just too much.
I’m all for growth and development, and I realize staying fresh is of the utmost importance in such a fickle and fast-moving industry, but old adages ring true for a reason, and in this case, I can’t think of anything more appropriate to say than, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”