It finally happened. I resisted for months, but there’s no more resisting. Facebook forced me to switch to the…*shudder*…new Facebook.
I joined Facebook in 2005 primarily for one reason: it was a simplistic alternative to MySpace.
MySpace pages were cluttered with annoying colors and fonts, stupid songs, and general Useless Information Overloads. But Facebook…Facebook was different. A picture of the person, some basic information, some groups so you could discern their interests, and a place you could leave messages. The layouts were all uniform, nice and organized, so there was no way to make your profile look hideous. Simple, elegant, to-the-point.
Of course, this idyllic internet world would not last forever. As I recall, photo albums were the first major addition during my Facebook tenure. I didn’t have a problem with those, though–in fact, I enjoyed them. For one thing, they were unobtrusive, just sitting their in the corner of your profile if you happen to want to see them.
All that changed, of course, with the dreaded mini-feed. Now, I didn’t have the same “invasion of privacy” complaints some people had. (“Those BASTARDS! How DARE they share with my friends the information I put on my profile for my friends to see!”) But I thought they were stupid, unnecessary, and took up too much space on what was once a nice and simple homepage and profile page. Of course, as I predicted, originally I got used to it. At least for a while those were collapsible in profile view.
Applications only made it worse. Goodbye, carefree days of simple information-and-communication; hello, overblown mass of unnecessary games, trinkets, and other shiny distractions.
This actually brings us to the one good thing about the new Facebook: putting applications in a separate tab. So, one point for the new design, but that’s the only one I notice.
Aside from that, the new design is loaded with aesthetic and practical problems, which I am going to attempt to break down for you now.
1. The page is just too damn wide now. I don’t know about you, but I liked having a centered Facebook surrounded by white borders. It made it feel more focused, like everything was concentrated in the center. Plus, I liked being able to have other programs open on the sides of the screen (like instant messengers and whatnot) while I continued using Facebook in the background.
2. The integration of the wall and mini-feed. This is just incredibly distracting. It was good when you could just scroll past the mini-feed to get to the wall. (Of course, it was better when the mini-feed was collapsible, and it was best when there WAS. NO. FREAKING. MINI-FEED.) I don’t want my status updates and tagged photos to be lumped together with what people have to say to me. Whatever happened to the clear organization of the Facebook of yore? It’s particularly distracting with photo updates, where for some reason Facebook decides to show a large version of one of the new pictures. If we wanted to see a close-up of the picture, we’d click on it. You don’t need to push everything else down (and, may I add, increase the time it takes to load my profile on my crappy wireless connection) just so I can see a clear sample.
3. Info is no longer the first thing you see. Maybe this is just a personal preference, but to me, Facebook has always been, first and foremost, a miniature autobiography. Facebook is not my primary means of communication with my friends; it’s mostly a way to see what their interests are in a brief and concise way. Info should be priority, the wall secondary.
4. Groups and pages take up too much space on the info tab. Again, why is everything in the new Facebook so wide? Groups and pages used to be nice, tight, and cozy in the sidebar. It made sense and was space efficient. Now the list of pages especially just has a ton of wasted space. Empty space makes sense for borders, but it’s just a waste in the middle of the profile with the names of pages and large icons strewn about the empty whiteness. For all Facebook’s talk about the new system being “simpler”, it sure manages to remove all the compactness of the old design (thus, again, increasing load times).
There are more problems with the new system, but you get the gist. Look, it’s no secret that I tend to resist change in general, but I’m convinced this change isn’t for the better. However, it was obviously instigated for some reason, so I’m not necessarily suggesting that Facebook return to the old system exactly. But I am suggesting–nay, begging–that Facebook instigate a system that has the efficiency, quick loading, and pleasing aesthetics of the old system.
Sure, Facebook’s not that important in the grand scheme of things, but as long as we have it to enjoy, why screw with a version we actually can enjoy?