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Shocker: Facebookers Not Happy With Redesign

CEO fixes unbroken social network

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Here’s your scenario: You’re the CEO of an immensely popular social network with 175 million registered users, or just shy of the population of Brazil. Your users are passionate and tend to protest over the slightest changes. Just recently they got really mad about a terms of service change—so mad it was on the evening news and you had to change them back.

Despite those numbers, despite rabid user loyalty, you’re losing money, so much money you got delisted from Forbes’ Masters of the Universe Billionaires list. At the same time another social network, much smaller than yours with less functionality and more questionable future, is gaining a lot of buzz and membership. 

What do you do?

Do you:

Old Facebook Now A.    Don’t fix something that’s not broken. And by not broken, it means that meteoric growth over the past year led your site to trounce MySpace and every sensitive person on the site is relatively happy in their social networking habitat.
B.    Ignore that a growing number of people seem to like an incomprehensible platform much like a feature you already offer. Remember that you have 175 million and growing members, and that Twitter does not, and show that you have plenty of confidence in your product. After all Google didn’t just become a portal because some people didn’t get the spare interface.
C.    A and B, and focus on Job 1, which is figure out a way to monetize so that you can rejoin the Masters of the Universe at Davos next year.
D.    None of the above. Instead, hold a press conference. Announce you’re making the website more democratic if that’s what everybody wants and call for a vote. While everybody’s busy voting on that, change everything.

If you picked D, congratulations, you’re thinking like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

At the end of last month, Zuckerberg laid down what resembled the Magna Carta for Facebook, noting that future changes would be made via a more democratic process in “virtual town halls.” Voting on that set of new principles and user rights and responsibilities would be in effect until March 29, and only required 52 million votes to ensure they took effect. Over that month, said Zuckerberg, Facebook would be making “hundreds of changes.”

Presumably before anybody could stop him. Maybe we’re seeing the grooming of a future politician.

On March 13, Facebook radically redesigned the site to make it more Twitter-esque and less traditionally Facebook-y.

How did the Facebook masses respond? Hard to gauge really.  

Yesterday, an update on the Facebook blog about the new Town Hall voting on the new governance plan was met with a barrage of comments about how much they hated new Facebook and wanted the old one back. But comment threads get ugly sometimes, right? You can’t let a minority of protestors beat you back. Just how many protestors are there, anyway?

Facebook Comment

The number against the changes are even harder to gauge because there are too many separate factions of new Facebook haters. A couple of groups appear to have around 400,000 members, one has 2.7 million, another around 50,000, and several others just have hundreds. We’ll round up and call it a cool 4 million, well shy of the 30 percent of Facebook needed to vote down changes under the new governance that has yet to take effect.

Groups rallying to keep or save the new Facebook exist as well. One of them even has 76 members.

Chris William at the HuffingtonPost does a pretty good job of summing up what appear to be the most unpopular changes. They include:

–No more automatically updating “live feed” with updates on everything. One critic called the live feed a “TV alternative.”
–Data is fully integrated into the new status updates. Users used to be able to separate out by category: wall posts, status updates, links, photos, etc.
–The feed no longer tells you when friends add new friends. This was a popular way of expanding one’s own friends list.
–Now users get updated with every photo posted in a separate post. 30 new pictures posted. 30 new posts in the feed.
–Gone is the ability to just see less of an individual’s posts. Now it’s all posts or no posts from a person.

The complaints go on for a while at different sources. The least that can be said is there are a lot of people out there wondering why unbroken Facebook needed to be fixed, and why anyone with a user base so change-averse to begin with would think hundreds of changes over a short period of time—no testing, no asking—would go over well.
 

 >>> Do you like the new Facebook?

… Add you comments below…

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  • http://www.44skate.com Getmea

    I tried FB for about 3 months just for curiosity. Suddenly, my brother’s old girlfriend from 1984 found me (why and how?). All my work-related acquaintances started wanting to be friends. My wife got jealous at all the time I was spending on it (having an affair, perhaps?).

    I then found that so-and-so was happy that Obama was president…and so-and-so is taking care of a sick kid…and so-and so was extacted to have the nicest hubbie in the world…and so-and-so joined Mob wars…and so-and-so got a 90% on 80′s music trivia…WHO F’N CARES!

    And then, FB decides that all pictures, words, phrases, thoughts, etc., are legally they’res??? Not in MY lifetime.

    I cancelled FB right before the so-called-new-and-improved-look…

  • http://getforexhelp.com Willem

    “Do NEVER Fix what ain’t Broken…”
    and since FB did it – bear the consequences…

  • http://blog.hichamaged.net/ Hicham

    I think they should worry about the basic issues like privacy for example. Other things like new look is nothing but retouches!

  • Professor

    Your mathematical abilities is astounding; didn’t you work for IRS in the downtown office?

  • Guest

    Facebook is a waste of time, and I’ve never even signed up for an account.

    MySpace is a waste of my time, UBoot was a waste of my time, infact i’ve never found a ‘social’ website that was really ‘social’ or not a waste of time.

    Go down the pub, join an AmDram society, get a hobby, get a frigging life for christ sake people!

    I refuse to do MSN / Yahoo etc.. and I’m fed up with the amount of time the missus spends on MoneySavingExpert.

    OK I use forums to ask questions relating to SEO / Coding (it’s my Job!) , but to spend my life talking to complete strangers over their latest CD they bought or picture they’ve taken, who gives a shit!

    Harsh , perhaps, but I guess if it keeps the mindless idiots who can’t get a real life off the streets and aquiring ASBOS, I take it all back FaceBook is brilliant, and all the other social networking sites.

    Infact I can’t wait till they invent a direct cortical implant and plug all these morons directly into the net and allow decent folk, with real lives to take a leisurely moonlight stoll on the sea front without the worry of some hooligan robbing you!

  • Kylie

    I agree 100%!!!! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
    The new Facebook home page sucks, and you have much less control over what you see. Such a radical change when no change was actually needed at all. You could choose what you wanted to see more or less of, rather than having to scroll through a heap of listed irrelevant stuff. I found a lot of my friends through the old feed, but this is something that is also gone now!

  • Guest

    Rabidly dislike it for all the reasons mentioned – am using it less and less.

  • http://www.cozumilaclama.net Ha?ere

    veryy Good post. nito meet you webpronews. thanks

  • http://www.eaga.com/showersmart Shower Smart

    They appear to have changed it again, using the new system but laying it out like the old one!

  • http://www.yummybouquets.com lyndas

    I agree….I was just getting use to my new account with facebook and now whammy, it changed and now I feel lost. I like that I don’t have to read all posts…why change if it is fine…

  • http://www.digitechstop.com Guest

    I hate it. I’d leave if there was somewhere to go and all my friends could come with me. Which is just the point. People have spent a long time building their networks and it makes it hard to leave. _uckerburg can zuck it up all he wants and people will still stay…

  • http://www.risingstarartists.com MusicMaven

    It’s confusing, it’s annoying, it’s like the new Coke that everyone hated.

    • http://www.bestbeautyinfo.com Sitham

      I am facing lot of problems with with new facebook like, slow enhancement loading, slow photo upload and so on. be, i think the older was better then new one.

  • http://www.seonetsol.com Ricky

    I totally agree with the fact that the change in the look of facebook has created some problems for the users. I use veryslow internet and so am recieving more troulble than others. But I think that the changes are not that bad too. We have to sacrifice a little to gain something bigger in life.

    Hats off to Facebook!

  • http://www.yadayadamarketing.com Laura Betterly

    The changes stink, but even worse is not telling us what occurred, not a peep on what is working and what isn’t.

    I love Facebook and I hate Facebook.

    This was written in April and is part of a year end newsletter, but the fact of the matter, this happened again last month…

    I wrote an article on it call Facebook, I’m breaking up with you which can be seen on my blog at myYada Yada Martketing site

  • http://www.ilaclama.web.tr ila

    I guess Mark Zuckerberg is actually working for Twitter and wanted to sink Face Book in one giant fell swoop.