Seriously: Why all the fuss?
A few months ago I was reading on either Slashdot or Wired about a new Facebook format set to be released later this summer which would revolutionize the way Facebookers used the site. (I’d go back to look up the article for you but Lord only knows how many articles I’ll have to wade through that are tagged “Facebook” before I find it.) The article went on to say that the new format would soon become permanent, but that for those who cared to do so it was possible to switch over immediately to take it for a test drive.
At that time I only logged onto Facebook about once a week or less. This was 100% because most of my friends’ profiles were so packed with enormous, flashing, brightly colored applications that I rarely visited them because they were just too tacky and abrasive to put up with or develop an interest in. It was everything I hated about MySpace, but painted over in a thick veneer of wasted code that had yet to reach the MySpace masses. If I have to spend 3 minutes looking for the right place on your profile to type “OMG I *loved* that episode too!” then you’ve lost me. And it’s not like I need to look at my own page to remember which bands I like, so why bother logging in at all?
The article, which I found only mildly intriguing at the time, provided a link through which you could be logged in to your Facebook account under the new design. I figured: Why the heck not?
As soon as it logged me in, the entire social networking portion of my brain shut down. I was simply not equipped to handle what I saw. Everything looked different, slimmer, cleaner. It was like upgrading from a pencil box with a day-glo calculater lid to a Mac Book Pro with a fountain Coke tap in the USB port.
But while it looked so much cleaner, what the heck was I seeing? Where were my apps? Where were my friends? Where were my stats? WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED AND WHO COULD I BLAME?!
After about 16 seconds of panic my eyes refocused on the setup that would quickly turn me into a daily Facebook user and a vocal advocate of the new format.
Now instead of spending minutes at a time sorting through tens and tens of clunky, aesthetically vomit inducing apps just to find a place to wish a long lost friend a “Happy B-Day,” I can jump straight to anyone’s Wall at any time and be right where I need to be to leave comments. I can leave comments for you, comments on what others have already written, on status updates, pages people have become fans of, groups people have joined. It’s like a constant, ongoing conversation between me and 317 of my closest friends, except that no one is talking over anyone else, and nothing is overshadowed by an invitation to join a mafia of Texas Hold ’em playing, souped up race car buying Ninja Pirate Zombies.
(P.S. STOP INVITING ME TO JOIN YOUR MAFIA OF TEXAS HOLD ‘EM PLAYING, SOUPED UP RACE CAR BUYING NINJA PIRATE ZOMBIES. I’M SERIOUS.)
The beauty part of it all is that if you still insist that the only way to enjoy Facebook is to make your profile page unnavigable by piling on applications no one wants to look at but you, you can do just that. It’s all moveable, customizable, deletable. Something’s not where you want it to be? Move it there. Want to add a tab for all of your game apps to keep them together in one place? Done and done! A tab just for movie related apps? You’ve got it! Ta-da.
Or you can wipe the tears of anguish from your eyes and realize that now you can actually see and interact with all of the things that Facebook was created to give users access to in the first place.
Because really: No one wants to see how much you know about cars with unpronounceable names, or what level wizard you’ve become, as much as you think they do. Move that nonsense to the “Boxes” tab, stop accosting your friends with 30+ screen inches of scrolling through stuff they don’t care about just to leave you a comment, and begin enjoying the good life.