I remember a few years ago when this website named “Facebook” came out. I wasn’t able to get on it because I was already out of school (hence no .edu email address), but a bunch of my friends had started using it. I’d used MySpace before but didn’t particularly like it because of all the themes, auto-playing songs, and just general business.
About a month before I got married in 2006, I started using Facebook. For the first few years, it was absolutely my favorite website on the internet. I was able to connect with some long lost friends. I got to see pictures of what all my friends were up to. On my birthday, about 10 different people said Happy Birthday. It was very simple, but it was awesome.
Fast forward a few years. The website starts to add advertisements. Annoying, but whatever. Then they add apps. Super annoying? How do I turn this thing off? They change the format to this goofy Timeline format. They change their mobile app so it’s almost useless. Now my simple little page has turned into a mess.
What once was my favorite site is now rarely visited anymore. I can’t remember the last time I had an interesting conversation on Facebook. I can tell you the last time someone asked me to add my birthday to their Birthday Calendar or play whatever random game I have no interest whatsoever in playing.
Over the past few months, I’ve debated whether or not I should just delete my account. I feel like it adds absolutely no quality of life. Every time I go on their, I find someone ranting and raving about something political. Or someone that I was on the fence about adding as a friend in the first place winds up posting about 200 times per day. If it isn’t that, it’s the constant games and apps that clog up my timeline. If you watched “The Social Network,” you can clearly see that Facebook was founded on a concept of a simple, clean website. The word “the” was dropped off of “thefacebook.com” because it seemed cleaner. It’s equally as clear right now that they aren’t as concerned about the cleanliness of the site. Seriously… how many more things could they possibly fit onto my screen? I can count 93 things you can click on just on my profile page alone.
As Justin Timberlake (as Sean Parker) said in the Social Network: “We lived on farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re going to live on the internet!” Unfortunately for Facebook and their bottom line, I’m finding that I’m living less and less on Facebook. Let’s face it: Facebook sucks.
In the past two years, they’ve lost massive amount of money and lost equally as much in user opinion. There has to be changes, though, or the website will be marching towards the well worn path (see: MySpace, Digg) to the website graveyard.
The first thing they have to do is make all of the games/apps cleaner. Take them out of people’s Newsfeed. I’m completely fine if my friends want to play “Zombies vs. the Mafia,” but I don’t need to read about it. Clean up the security options so I can easily click on button and be excluded from reading my friends comments on other people/products I don’t even know. Constantly ask “does this feature user experience better” and if the answer is no, get rid of it. I don’t use chat. I don’t use email. I don’t use whatever that stupid box is in the upper right hand corner. Don’t force Timeline down users throat. Let us decide what we want. And for heaven’s sake, fix your stupid mobile app!
Focus on your strengths. Large user base. Photos. Connections between friends. Do something or become nothing.