With each iteration of changes to Facebook, that bastion of student procrastination, there is a frenzy of disgruntled posting. This time it may be warranted. I remember the uproar at the inclusion of photo galleries which are now very much loved, and I hear the response to “Walls” (an area on one’s profile to which other users may write) was similar. However the inclusion of feeds is a very different prospect. It adds no new content or information whatsoever. Instead what it offers is a new way to access that information. For many Facebook’s sole raison d’être was the ability to stalk one’s friends for information and gossip. To have it served up in a feed as soon as you log on destroys that entire concept.
Equally their own justification falls short. Claiming to provide all the useful changes that people want to know about their friends, instead the feed fills up with whose favourite book as changed in the last 3 days. Above all, however, its implementation is just messy. I have always been able to stomach its façade of sociability more than MySpace because at least it took a clean, minimalist approach to its design instead of the gut-wrenching mess of the latter. Shallow, I know. However little care has gone into the design of the feeds which is why many have made the above comparison. It began with the inclusion of the ability to blog on Facebook through “Notes”. Although not a fan, I cannot argue since I am able to hook them up to this site’s own feed so that more people can reach new updates.
On a separate privacy note, I would encourage you to carefully check your “My Privacy” page where I have been informed that under “Everyone” the settings include a checkbox ticked by default which shares your information with the Facebook Development Platform. It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just that — well — I don’t.
Finally, just to ensure that this is truly a social networking entry that Luke can truly despise, allow me to plug once again the Frappr map we set up a while ago. I haven’t mentioned it for a while, but if you are reading this, do take a few seconds to add yourself if you haven’t already.