It seems that everyone and their dog is on Facebook these days — literally, some people make Facebook pages for their pets. The website has become so commonly used that the public is quick to have an opinion on any changes that are made to the user controls.
Avid Facebook user Christina Smith, freshman in pre-nursing, said she is a fan of the site, but some of the new features are more hassle than help. When Facebook chat was introduced in April 2008, according to The Facebook Blog, the public gave mixed feedback.
Smith said at first that she thought the chat feature was too similar to MSN chat, which made it “lame.”
Facebook has made more recent changes to the instant messaging feature, such as the combination of messaging and chatting. Chat messages are now archived in the message inbox, which has been seen as both positive or negative.
“I like that I can read back to messages from eighth grade, but the way that it’s set up blows up my inbox,” Smith said.
According to Smith, more popular features on Facebook, such as notifications and photos have, for the most part, undergone improvements. Users are alerted to any new notifications on the homepage, rather than on a separate page designated for notifications, as in years past.
“Notifications are more manageable now that they are condensed, rather than clicking on a notification and then having to go back to the notification page hoping you remembered where you left off,” Smith said.
On a social networking website, photo uploading serves an important role. Now on Facebook, the last five photos in which a person was tagged are in sequential order on a horizontal strip above the person’s wall. While some Facebook users have creatively utilized this feature by posting and tagging continuous photos of themselves, for example, eating a long sub sandwich, many times the photos are indicative of the last event or events a user attended.
As Smith joked, “Now instead of stalking someone, you can just kind of glance. You can see if they are worth Facebook stalking or not.”
While many Facebook users have strong opinions on the failures or successes of the site’s changes, others are more like Will Leonard, senior in architecture, who said he is perfectly content with the way the site is run.
“They are web designers — they know the idea of what’s happening down the road. The idea of Facebook was the idea of sharing social life online and they revolutionized it,” he said.
Since the professionals behind Facebook have created and designed such a well-known and heavily used website, Leonard said that as a patron of the site, he trusts the changes.
As an architecture student, Leonard relates the intent of the designers of Facebook to the intent of an architectural designer.
“Architects do it all the time, where they lead you down an experiential path,” Leonard said. “Imagine a bench by a window and you may not want to sit next to the window. But when you do, there may be a framed view and it was designed with intention for you to experience it. It was done with a purpose. Upon arriving at the window, you did not know the intention. With Facebook, I’m sure the changes they are making are for some future intention.”
The future of Facebook is yet to be revealed to the general public, so while it is unclear now whether changes are in the users’ best interests, the site will undoubtedly undergo many more makeovers whether we “like” them or not.