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The “New” Facebook: Crossing Generational Lines in Confounding the User

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I started using Facebook over a year ago, when the popular, social networking web site decided to open the doors to everyone. I know what you're thinking. I'm OLD. What the hell am I doing on Facebook?

Well, people, first of all, you are only as old as you feel. I didn't register to feel younger. At first, I logged on to keep in touch with my college-aged son. Some of his friends and teachers signed up to be my Facebook friends. Then my high school-aged daughter discovered it, and of course, she needed constant monitoring.

In the meantime, I've connected with several people there with similar interests. I've found people I went to high school with, and a bunch of Internet friends from another social networking web site who had jumped that sinking ship (heretofore anonymous) and headed over to Facebook.

I also use Facebook to plug my articles here at Blogcritics and elsewhere.

Any web site takes some getting used to. Facebook was rather easy at first. As social networking sites go, there are always some quirks and foibles. I don't expect any software or platform to be 100% perfect. But Facebook was relatively hassle free and user friendly, even for a geezer like me.

But, there were changes looming on the horizon.

A month or so ago, Facebook users were confronted with the "new" Facebook. It looked like Facebook, but the boxes were bigger and in different places. At the time, there was an option to toggle back and forth between "old" and "new" – and guess what I chose? Yup, "old" Facebook.

Last week, Facebook no longer gave its users the option. There was only "new" Facebook and nothing else.

A new slogan can be heard around the Internet. Facebook: Teaching an old dog new tricks.

In the last week, users have complained of having their accounts closed because of TOS violations. The biggest "reason" given was that the person had two or more accounts, and plainly you can only have one. The problem was that, with the two people I knew with deleted accounts, both only had ONE account. On the other hand, I know someone who has two accounts, both using ficticious names, and neither of his accounts have been deleted.

It's also next to impossible to find any favorite boxes. I tried to link my latest BC post in its usual spot, but it took a while before I could find where to post. Then it wouldn't let me. I had a friend do it from his page, and it would only allow him to do so as long as he clicked the option for no photo. However, an hour later, I was successful in posting the link, photo included. I still don't know how I did it, or how to get back to that box.

It's not just old and decrepit me that is having Facebook problems. Younger people are having a difficult time navigating the site, too. Several groups have popped up in the last week, started by disgruntled users. "I Hate the New Facebook!", "1,000,000 Against the New Facebook Layout!", and "How to Get the Old Facebook Back!!!!!!!" are just a few of the groups started in protest. A Facebook boycott is scheduled for September 20 through October 20. Leaders of the boycott believe that a significant drop in traffic will get the attention of the Powers That Be.

As for me, I won't be participating in the boycott. I try to limit my Internet usage, and Facebook is a great time-wasting diversion, so I don't spend much time there anyway. There are too many interesting games to play there, and I just don't have the time. But I do agree with the protesters in that the old Facebook was easier to use.

Which leads me to think, perhaps no one in development at Facebook heard of the adage, "If it's not broken don't fix it."

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About Joanne Huspek

I write. I read. I garden. I cook. I eat. And I love to talk about all of the above.
  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    A boycott is just, well … dumb. When a group says “we don’t like it.” OK, great. What don’t you like about it? That’s not how software improves itself.

    Gawker Media just revamped their commenting system. People hated it. Editors implored readers/commenters to respond with specific criticisms. They were addressed and changes were made.

    Joanne, you should probably copy/paste this article to the feedback e-mail, whatever that e-mail may be.

  • http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/39420/joanne_huspek.html Joanne Huspek

    Thanks, Matthew, I’ll do that.

    The problem with “boycotts” of social networking web sites is that they never produce any results. I know, I’ve been there before. For every person that leaves, there are scores more who come to see what the hoopla is all about. So the page views and clicks remain the same or increase during the turmoil.

    Most people don’t read the TOS before signing up for such web sites. They think they have a voice in shaping the site, when actually they are using it for free and must adhere to the rules.

    I don’t have a problem with Facebook (or any of the other sites). I know the limitations, and am willing to work within them.