August 22, 2006

The End of Facebook?

Posted in Technology at 11:53 am by Calico Jack

This morning, I noticed that Facebook had added a new feature to their ever-growing list of ways that you can promote yourself. Facebook has been hit-or-miss when it comes to adding new features. Some, like having global groups or allowing unlimited photo uploads, have revolutionized the way that people use the site. A few features are simply ignored (how many people actually look at their social timeline, or care enough to receive updates from Facebook Mobile?) And a few features have been big flops, such as when the creators moronically decided to lump all of your friends together in one big group instead of separating them by school. That was quickly overturned less than a week later due to an enormous number of complaints. And don’t even get me started on the whole “High School Facebook” fiasco; when they opened up this website to non-college students some of the appeal of exclusivity was gone.

However, Facebook has stayed remarkably consistent in a few key ways. Most importantly, they have kept their website clean. Apart from banner and side ads, every Facebook page is both easy-to-read and attractively uniform. Unlike MySpace or Xanga, users are unable to change much (in terms of layout or graphics) about their personal pages. This is a big draw for those of us who hate going onto MySpace, only to be bombarded with pop-ups and blaring music and horrendous backgrounds that make it impossible to read text or blog entries. Xanga has always been more of a blogging site for teenagers, but lately they’ve added photo and video uploads in a belated attempt to compete for MySpace. But Facebook has always stayed away from blogging, although this is a feature that a few people have wished for.

Apparently Facebook has been listening. Now comes Facebook Notes, a Xanga-lite version of blogging. From their FAQ:

Notes allow you to describe what’s going on in your life through written posts. You can upload photos to your notes and tag any friends that you mention in a note just as you would tag a photo.

Honestly, I think this is the worst thing Facebook could have done. What was once a very professional-looking website could now become cluttered with people’s musings on themselves and their boring lives. I would hate to go to someone’s profile and see “OMG!!! did u just hear about wat happnened to Melissa??? her and Dave broke up andnow he just went to a party w/another gurl!!! Im so sad, but I have lots of pics of them for u!!!”

Thanks, but I already see enough of that on people’s walls. Part of what made Facebook nice was the inability of people to show their illiteracy to everyone else, apart from the little “about me” box. Now we’re going to (maybe) get treated to a bunch of unnecessary crap. What was once a refreshing social-networking site is now a nicer-looking version of MySpace, only without the annoying music. Give it time…

I suppose the only redeeming thing about Facebook Notes is that you can upload your outside blog’s RSS feed, and it will display that in addition to any notes you choose to write. So if you have a blog that isn’t getting much traffic, everyone will be able to read your posts on your profile. I tested it with Ignorant Critics, and it seemed to work well. But I’d rather have the traffic head here, thanks.



  1. Kyle said,

    I’m not convinced this is really a bad thing. The clutter-value can’t be that high, considering this is plain text – not html and javascript like on myspace. I didn’t test out the RSS feed importing, but I bet that the feed includes links to the original site, so you can still potentially get traffic from it.

  2. Jessie said,

    I think the more they add to Facebook, the more they take away from it. I enjoyed the simplicity of the page. Almost everybody has either xanga or MySpace now, so find out about “Dave and Melissa” there. Leave Facebook for simple “how are you?” messages. You can send the person a more personal message privately…which is just like email. But whatever, they don’t ask my opinion.

  3. Shay said,

    I agree with Jessie!!

  4. So far, they’ve made the Notes a separate section that you have to click on to see. If they keep with that, I think it’ll be ok. As far as clutter goes.

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