Thursday, March 7

We will hate the new Facebook

Today, Facebook announced a major redesign. Despite overwhelming similarities in form and function to Google Plus, most people with their noses to the social media winds welcomed the changes. Customized timelines, cleaner pages, mobile and desktop uniformity, more attention to media such as photos, video and links are just a few of the reasons the new Facebook is an improvement.

But the changes have yet to hit the general, Farmville-ing public. And once they do, I expect a firestorm of hatred for the redesign. Every single time Facebook has come out with a change, we have rallied against it with vigor. Or at least enough vigor to post a status or two about it. #Irony.

New layout.
And with each change and reaction, we inevitably became familiarized with the changes, learned how to use them and eventually mastered them. Remember all those Facebook groups that acted as "petitions" to Mark Zuckerberg, demanding he get rid of the timeline, or the chat bar, or the pages layout? I bet he just sat there in his Adidas flip flops and smiled. He knew we were all addicted to his service, and we would soon adopt the changes as our own.

Companies need to constantly improve. Or at least give the appearance of improvement. Early social media powerhouse, Myspace, stood stagnant and became a dinosaur. There is increasing pressure from shareholders to improve the bottom line, and more data suggests that people are using Facebook less than they were in the recent past. Facebook needed to make a major change in the face of actual decline.

We fought to keep this version of Facebook...
So before you complain about the new Facebook and how it's horrible and how you can't post bumper stickers to your friend's profile (the Facebook Wall didn't even exist during the bumper sticker era), take a few days to get used to the changes. They are better, and Facebook promised to make some tweaks as they slowly roll out the new service. Or you can complain about it in a status. Either way, Zuckerberg is winning. (You could also sign up for Google Plus, which, contrary to reputation, is a very popular and useful site). If you hate it after a few weeks, then fair enough.There's always Friendster.

By Aaron Brandt, Googler of all the things.