Over the past few days, Facebook, the world’s leading social network and waster of time, underwent a series of changes they’ve billed as improvements. The general consensus, on the other hand, is a significantly more negative reception. This is the internet, after all. And far be it from a company offering a free service you don’t rely on to make changes of it’s own design! Politics aside, we’ve dubbed changes like this “unhancements” – changes dubbed as enhancements that are disliked, hated, or steps backward. Having already logged into your Facebook page 50 times since the changes were introduced a few hours ago, what are your first thoughts? Let’s take a look at some of the aspects in more detail.
There are two main changes to your Facebook page: the newsfeed is different and there’s a new right-column of updates.
The right column (which is hide-able through an option on the lower right) features a mini version of your main news feed. The advantage of this, or so the claim, is that no matter where you are on Facebook — deep into a Farmville game, commenting on a friends’ photo, updating your own profile — you now have direct access to the news feed, as if you were on the homepage. Even if you’re still on the homepage, but have scrolled down 1,000 times to read a status update from last week, you have this new right column with the latest, non-scrolling updates beside you. You can click on any of the individual updates and add your own comment, or like, directly from the side bar.
The homepage’s main news feed has a bit more to it now. Right off the bat, you may notice that images are larger, or even tiled in the case of someone adding multiple images in an album. Captions also got a boost. But there’s a lot more going on in this news feed, where Facebook actually tries to CONTROL YOUR MIND!!!
Well, not exactly. But the site DOES try to predict how you think (PREDICT YOUR MIND!! …?) The site automatically makes certain status updates more important than others, denoting the “big” ones with a little blue corner. The feed then further mixes in recent updates with earlier updates and top updates. The feed then allows you to play God, giving you the opportunity to decide which of your friends is most important to view, then how important each of your friends updates really is. This new subscription method replaces the old all-or-nothing “hide” option with significantly more depth. So long, Aunt Sally! Hello, ex-ex girlfriends and girl I stare at during office hours!
When you post a new status on Facebook, look for the little drop downs and options beneath the form field – there, you can select who sees your updates.
What else has Facebook gone and done? Well, they’ve introduced the concept of Lists, which, for both of you using Google+, you’ll recognize as a blatant lift of the Circles idea. In short, it allows you to shoot updates to your college buddies OR your work friends OR your family OR any other grouping, but not necessarily having to tell each of them. Now, it’s much easier to tell your work colleagues you’re out sick while updating your friends with your photos from Vegas.
Now, ANY updates are going to take time to sink in, let you get used to them. However, if you will always prefer your old-style news feed, circa August 2011, when all was right in the world, well there are still ways to get back there! All you have to do is cheat the system, and make it do as you want. Using the left-side List links, create a new list and call it “News Feed”. Then, add all of your friends to that list, or at least all the friends you didn’t have hidden before. It might take a while to click on all of your 500 friends that you don’t really know in real life, but once you’re done adding them to the list, you’ve now created a way for Facebook to show you how things used to be! The “News Feed” you’ve just created will be a clickable option on the left of the Facebook homepage, and clicking on that will show things the way they were.
So, with all that said… are these still bad changes? Are they bad simply because they ARE changes? Do you see any positives from the new features, or do you consider this to be a great case of “unhance”?