Anyone who spends hours on Facebook (and let’s face it, pretty much everyone does these days) is aware of the recent changes the website implemented just a few weeks ago. Many users, like with past Facebook renovations, are dissatisfied once again.
First, the website added a “subscribe” button that allows you to follow people’s updates, regardless of whether you’re friends with them — similar to, go figure, Twitter.
Then, the News Feed changed from optionally viewing the “Top News” on your feed to forcing you to look at the recent status update of your ex with a new significant other because it’s been popular since your last visit to Facebook. And, along the same lines, the size of pictures on your News Feed and profile are much larger, just in time to see your ex moving on right smack in your face.
And to top it all off, there is now a ticker on the right side of the site that allows you to view what others are doing at every single second, essentially a News Feed within your News Feed. This is pretty much the easiest way to officially stalk your friends.
Nassor Isom, a freshman majoring in philosophy, has mixed feelings about the changes to Facebook.
“I think that the new Facebook was a little confusing at first, but I got used to it. I feel that the overall addition of a sidebar telling everyone everything you’re doing is a little too much though,” Isom said. “That’s like an invasion of someone’s privacy on the Internet. But then you have to wonder whether or not what’s on the Internet is really private. It’s all based on one’s interpretation of the situation.”
Osbert Tejada, an undeclared freshman, is one user who has not been happy with the website’s overhaul.
“It actually took me a while to realize that I didn’t like the latest Facebook updates,” he said. “After a day I got sick of the constantly updating News Feed in the upper right. I don’t need to see what everyone on my friends list is doing at all times.”
Tejada feels the old Facebook had a better system, geared toward the user instead of promoting commercial interests.
“I was also annoyed that we started getting updates from Like pages again. People make a page that gets thousands of likes, then they use the page to advertise bands and clothes and events, it’s pointless and annoying,” Tejada said. “Facebook actually filtered that out before [like emails filter out spam], but now we get all of those pointless updates again and it’s very counter-productive.”
Coincidentally enough, these innovations were set in motion about the same time that Google+ opened its doors to new users after months of invitation-only access. Similar to Facebook, Google+ allows users to connect with friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. Simply put, it’s another social network invading our computer screens.
Despite having most of the same features as other social networks, Google+ allows users to post statuses that only a certain “circle” (a category feature where you can add people to a group you create) of theirs can view. In addition to that, there is also a Hangout feature that is similar to chatting on Skype, except you can also watch YouTube videos with other people at the same time. Users have already begun to migrate to the website due to their curiosity.
But also continuing to look toward the future, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced the company’s plans to do a complete profile overhaul and introduce Timeline, essentially a visual history of your entire life, from pictures to home videos to places you’ve visited.
But will users want to share their personal childhood memories with their 950 friends on Facebook? And better yet, does this initiative finally cross the line, if there even is one, of Internet privacy?
Facebook has been the dominating force in social media ever since it took the reigns from MySpace. But with its incessant changes, has it moved into a territory that users will not want to assimilate to? Google+ has that new car smell Facebook once had, but now we have to determine how many changes we will be willing to take, and which social media website, if any, will reign supreme.