At this week’s F8 developer conference, Facebook changed their game. The kind of updates Facebook is enabling and streamlining are no longer true social interactions. They are bits and pieces of our daily lives that aren’t so much about being social as they are about cataloging yourself for Facebook. The new “verbs” only add mundane context to what you’re doing, the new “Share first, regret later” mode of “lifestyle apps” aren’t a form of sincere sharing, and do we really need to go over the new design? It’s awful. I’m so sick of Facebook, and not in a mid-thirties hipster wannabe kind of way. I’m worn out of Facebook. How did I get here?
I was not a particularly early adopter of MySpace, and I never used Friendster. I dabbled with Twitter before I started using Facebook a few years ago. I switched from MySpace to Facebook because it was a cleaner looking site. MySpace was so awful with terrible design, Flash, and audio it became unusable for me. In that respect, Facebook was a welcome change and I enjoyed using it to share and read what other had shared. It was fun and <strong>social</strong>.
New Facebook designs came and went, apps were introduced, and new world of social games were introduced. I played a few, but I never got into the Farmville games and I never spent a dime of virtual currency in the Facebook universe. I would post links to paranomal related things, skeptical stories, libertarian stories, and maybe a baseball story or two. Once I started podcasting, I started promoting it via Facebook as well. It was a normal and typical interaction with the most dominant social network.
There were some things that I never liked about Facebook, though. My Facebook Wall was dominated by Facebook game updates. I’m a vegan and even I got sick of reading about turnips and virtual crops being picked. I blocked a ton of apps from being able to update my Wall and that eventually cleaned up the experience. Also, the Facebook mail/message system was underdeveloped.
This year Facebook has started to make significant changes. They changed their mail system to something called Messenger, that now is a merge between instant messaging and email. It’s terrible. Email is something I send when I don’t want/need an instant response. In the new Facebook Messenger system all messages, IM or Email pop up an annoying window immediately. People close the pop up and forget about the message. As I said, it’s terrible.
So what now? Well, now that Facebook is basically a MMORPG where the name of the game is creating a better/more interesting/more learned/more contrarian version of yourself and broadcasting it, I’m bowing out. Sure, I’m as guilty of social network vanity as the next person, but I know when it’s time to quit. I’m moving and staying with Google+ and Twitter, two social networks, that you know, are social. Google+ conversations are great, Google Hangouts is a killer feature, and Twitter has its own universe that is interesting and valuable. Facebook has too much clutter for me now, and I haven’t decided of it’s trying to create voyeuristic, stalker, or vicarious existence for its members. But as I said, I quit. Perhaps I will quit Google+ at some point, who knows.
I’ve posted a number of links to articles about Facebook better written than this post I’m sure, and I encourage anyone to look at my feed at: profiles.google.com/shane.p.brady to get the articles I’m referring to.