Facebook updates home page, irks users (again)
Stop me if you've read this before: Facebook just revised its home page, and many users of the popular social-networking site are confused or annoyed by the results.
That happened in March, when the Palo Alto, Calif., company swept away its home page's modular design to present a single column of updates that flowed down the screen (and then fine-tuned the new setup over the next few weeks). Now the story seems to be repeating itself with the revisions Facebook rolled out on Friday.
(Note: The same sort of thing can happen when newspapers change their print format.)
The redesign eliminates one of the least-useful aspects of the old home page, the "Highlights" section that either spotlighted paid ads or told you about things you'd already seen. The default "News Feed" now acts more like Highlights, displaying what Facebook thinks were the most interesting updates of the past day. A Facebook blog post explaining the redesign isn't terribly clear about what ranks as "interesting," saying only that the site considers "a variety of factors including how many friends have liked and commented on it and how likely you are to interact with that story."
Next to the News Feed headline, a "Live Feed" heading provides access to the latest activity of your friends -- including details once available if you clicked through to a user's own profile, such as additions to their friends lists. If you stay on the News Feed view, a number to the right of the Live Feed link indicates how many updates are waiting there (seven in 15 minutes this morning). Or you can switch to Live Feed as your regular view and watch news from your pals bubble up throughout the day.
Nothing in this seems too upsetting to me. That may be because I'm already in the habit of refreshing Facebook's home page every few minutes in a desperate attempt to avoid doing actual work.
Or perhaps I'm just more forgiving than some Facebook users. Many comments on the company's blog post have been less than complimentary. One user, who may have been further enraged by a malfunctioning Caps Lock key, demanded: "CHANGE THE SYSTEM BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS. YOUR IDEA OF UPGRADING IS DOWNRIGHT STUPID AND OBNOXIOUS."
Bitter Facebookers quickly set up dozens of groups to protest the change. For example, a group declaring that "The New Facebook 'Live Feed' Sucks!" had 12,582 members as of 10:46 this morning. (Granted, that's about .004 percent of the site's roughly 300 million users.) Other, less populated groups condemn the Live Feed as "lame," "crap" or "creepy."
(Also predictable: the emergence of a "Facebook Live Feed Drinking Game!" group.)
Now remember, the good old design that all these folks want restored isn't that different from the one that everybody hated back in March.
Maybe I should be happy, then, that yet another Facebook protest group -- "I AUTOMATICALLY HATE THE NEW FACEBOOK HOME PAGE" -- has drawn 18,739 members. Its motto begins:
I HATE CHANGE AND EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH IT
I WANT EVERYTHING TO REMAIN STATIC THROUGHOUT MY ENTIRE LIFE
But to judge from the comments there, some Facebook users find sarcasm as hard to grasp as change.
Do you mind the changes? Did you even notice them? Or are you tired of hearing about Facebook news and would rather complain about The Post's redesign instead?
October 26, 2009; 11:27 AM ET
Categories: The Web
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