Wait, Facebook is MySpace?

Facebook is showing off a brand new look and as usual everybody’s in a snit about it. Honestly, it amazes me that they seem to do their re-designs in a total vacuum. Any web developer knows the first rule of web design is to listen to what the client wants, collect their feedback and do a needs assessment. That’s even more true in a social network whose users are often less web savvy and thrown by major UI changes as well as concerned about privacy issues.

On Twitter today Myspace is trending, not because it’s about Myspace but because people are suggesting Facebook is doomed to the same fate as Myspace. People are migrating to Google plus now that it’s open and even though that interface just got a whole slew of new features it’s still got a long way to go to be useable for Facebook’s typical user base.

Personally I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot again and it’s a mistake for Facebook to chase Google Plus. Trying to do too much has been the downfall of many a platform. Facebook should focus on it’s strengths and what it’s user base wants. Both networks have their place and can easily exist together, each seeing more use from a particular user base. But that’s my take.

Here are just a few quotes from my Facebook page, sans names to protect the innocent:

  • Dear FaceBook: Here’s a story you might like: WHAT THE #@! are you doing????????
  • All these new features being rolled out before f8 seem to be pretty intuitive, but its a li’l much all at once!
  • Okay FB, I don’t need your “help” with categorizing news feeds and creating lists. Anyone else find this not so helpful?
  • Which annoys you more, the news feed or the ticker?
  • This outrage happens every time anything new is introduced on facebook. I’m now just waiting for all the “NOTICE: Facebook is sharing your most secret information with everyone on earth including OJ Simpson and space aliens unless you change this one obscure setting
  • I mean, at least give it a chance. It’s been all of what? Maybe 9 hours for many… try it out before you start whining JUST because it’s a “change”.

You may know that Facebook is not my favorite network, but still it serves a purpose for me and for my clients. It’s also still a great place for close friends and families to be in touch, though not with the privacy one might have hoped for. Now the changes have people confused again, and while I’m happy to answer questions it would be a lot easier if Facebook thought things out a bit better and made the UI intuitive.

Here’s a very happy little video that explains it all.

Facebook news feed changes

The most recent posts are no longer at the top of your news feed. Facebook chooses top stories for you.Top stories are based on how active people are on the story (remember the importance of edge rank!). If a lot of your friends have shared, commented or liked a story, or if you are particularly close to theperson, then it’s a top story for you.

If you don’t agree with Facebook’s choices you can demote a story by clicking the arrow in the upper right corner of the story to “unmark” that story. If you do that often enough it’s assumed you don’t want stories from that person or page anymore and you won’t see them as often in your news feed.

If you want to add that person or page back to your news stream, go to your home page, hover your cursor over the left side of the left hand news feed menu and you’ll get a pop up list of people, apps, pages and groups you’ve hidden and you can select the ones to start showing again.

If you want to hide an application or a type of post (games, quizzes etc.) click the drop down menu in the top right corner and choose “hide all or “unsubscribe” to hide everything from that person, “hide story” to hide just that story and of course you can still “report spam” here too.

confused about the changes? Here’s a link to explain the news feed changes on Facebook.

The Ticker

On the right hand side of your page you’ll see the news ticker. This is where you will see the real time comings and goings of your friends. You’ll see images, videos, stories, tags and friendings. You can control what is seen in the ticker by un subscribing from a person’s feed, selecting most important or Most Updates. If you really HATE THE TICKER here’s how to get rid of it. This is a joke actually, for now you’re stuck with it, but I thought their examples were great.


Very much like Google Plus circles, you can now filter your news feed by lists. Isn’t it nice that Facebook is now creating your lists for you based on your interests with the new “smart lists“? (yes, I’m being facetious) Click the name of a list and see just the posts from the people on that list.

Email alerts

Starting Sept 30 Pages won’t be able to email all of their fans but even better you’ll be seeing fewer email alerts from your friends

  • Guest

    They, FB stopped the emails about two weeks ago which is fine with me. I went through hell this weekend trying to do lists and I’ve only 35 friends as I keep it more personal there but I made such a mess putting people in groups that my son texted me, ‘enough with the FB MOM, I know we’re family’ and his girl de friended me barely 3 days after friending me as apparently I made a mess picking family, friends, close friends. I have the news feed with the blue highlights to left of posts but nothing at all like the ticker you’re speaking of here.
    I can not stand My Space & although FB is driving me insane trying to keep up with all the changes it has over 800million people on it and one this month,or maybe it was our ‘earthquake day’ they had 500 million on at one time in one day.
    The picture feature is great though as they’re larger and so clear but I did see in Marks video today what looks like our profile pictures will take up a good quarter or our page from left to right, at least his did with a dog…I just wish it wasn’t all so complicated. The new setting provide total privacy if you want, in fact you could almost make it that only you can see what you post other then your name & profile picture.

  • …and I thought with your title you would talk about the opengraph and so-called Facebook Music, such as this screenshot atr https://skitch.com/ariherzog/f5c4m/spotify-on-facebook — that friends of mine just saw in their ticker — when I activated the opengraph in my spotify application.

    I don’t think people will delete their Facebook accounts and create Google+ accounts. They’ll bitch and moan and eventually accept it.

  • Yes Ari I agree we’ll eventually accept the new changes as we always do, and I think the new , new version is an improvement in some ways, but I do think they could handle these transitions better!

  • Lisa

    Hi Janet,
    Thanks for the updates. One question about alerts: you said pages can no longer email fans but pages havent been able to do that for at least 18 months. Do you mean that sending updates to fans, which get funneled into notifications, is going away? Will fans be able to add an email alert for a company page if they want their news?

  • Hi Lisa,
    Here’s the message I got on my pages from Facebook, maybe that’s clearer.
    “Changes to How Your Fans Are Updated
    We want you to connect with your fans in the most effective ways possible. That’s why as of September 30th you’ll no longer be able to send updates to fans using Facebook Messages. The best way to make sure your content is seen is to post it on your Wall so people see your updates in their news feed.We’re focused on creating even better tools for pages – look for announcements soon.”