In a perfect world, Facebook would continue to be a useful and relevant social media platform.
A year ago, I read an interesting post on Deadspin entitled “Facebook is Dead“*. In it, Drew Magary opined that “anyone with a brain knows that Facebook is terrible.”
*In a hall of fame caliber moment of irony, I saw the link for the article on…wait for it…Facebook.
Why you ask? In Magary’s eyes, Facebook is a “one time” tool where you find people from your past and connect with them outside of Facebook. After that, the site is left to be occupied by “sad asshole zombies” – which is his spin on the perennially popular ‘here are annoying Facebook users lumped into a handful of categories’ post that half of the Internet has created (including me!). Once people turn into zombies, you quickly become annoyed with them: “This is how Facebook works. You re-discover people, and then you re-discover everything you disliked about them.”
Magary’s opinion seems to be based upon something I’ve noticed too: the participants are shifting. The early adopters – who likely make up a big portion of Magary’s core circle of Friends are increasingly inactive on Facebook. Many of my closest friends, who were quite active 4-5 years ago rarely post/share/comment anymore.
But the biggest reason that Facebook is becoming a smaller and smaller part of my online routine?
Facebook does an increasingly poor job of giving me what I want.
As an illustration, I have my phone sitting beside me. I tap on the Facebook app and my news feed presents to me, in order:
- A post from a buy/sell/trade page I follow from 30 minutes ago.
- A post from 10 am this morning that Styx is coming to Lincoln’s Pinewood Bowl amphitheater.*
- Status update from a high school classmate from 9:45 pm, which ironically is in reference to a different social media platform (Pinterest).
- A viral YouTube video shared by a former co-worker at 10:03 pm.
- A Deadspin post from about 30 hours ago.
- A picture posted by the same former co-worker at 9:12 pm. We got along, but weren’t buddies.
- Another Deadspin article, this time from 11:15 am.
- A link to an article in the Lincoln Journal-Star shared at 9:38 pm by a different former co-worker whom I probably haven’t seen in 12 years.
- A status update from yet another former co-worker at 10:25 pm.
- A third Deadspin article, this one from 10:17 pm.
*With Loverboy! On my birthday, no less! Domo arigato! Mr. Roboto is working for the weekend!
What a sad collection of crap and things that I don’t really care about.
What’s worse? This is what Facebook considers the “top news” for me.
Now, I go in an perform the ritual that I have to do every single time I use the Facebook mobile app: tap on the three horizontal lines, scroll down to Feeds, tab on Most Recent. This (in theory) shows me everything in reverse chronological order (i.e. newest to oldest). Frankly, the stuff I see here isn’t that much more interesting, but at least it’s in a logical order. But I have to specifically ask to receive it – and even then I sometimes see posts in the Top News feed that I never saw in Most Recent. That level of persistent annoyance is a pretty crappy way to get me to come back, over and over, on a daily basis.
No disrespect to the random folks from high school and past jobs who fill my timeline, but I’d rather see what’s new with the dear friends that I don’t see or talk to as often as I would like. I want to see all of the new interaction from my friends (statuses, photos, shares, etc.) presented to me newest to oldest. I don’t need to see that somebody liked a status from somebody I don’t know, made a comment on some post with 3,000 other comments, or yet another stupid affirmation or bumper sticker saying.
I get it: Few sites – especially ones as popular as Facebook – are as “good” as they were way back when.
But in a perfect world, they would at least try.
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(Author’s note: Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post? Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge? Like clicking on links? These questions are all answered here.)