First of all, the new Profile page (see image below) will take some getting used to. In order to take advantage of what it has to offer, you’ll most likely want to add some additional information. I say want to, because if you’re like most people, you probably like playing with new toys.
The new Timeline Profile view offers viewers an easy way to scroll down through your life on Facebook much more easily – via the Timeline bar on the upper right of the page. Want to see what your friend was up to in 2002? Easy, just click the 2002 date in the Timeline bar and you’re zoomed right into place in their Timeline.
The uproar is that it supposedly “invades your privacy” because it puts all your posts in plain view for everyone to see. Well, I’m here to remind you that this has always been the case. It’s just a little easier to find now.
Previously you would have to scroll for dozens, or even hundreds of pages, to go back in time a few years. Now it’s as simple as a click or two. Anything you posted publicly is still public, and anything you shared privately is still private. So the privacy concerns are mostly overblown hype. I say mostly because Facebook conveniently resets your privacy controls yet again to share everything publicly – requiring you to go into your privacy settings to make adjustments.
One of the things I love about the new Profile page is how easily you can go back in time and add events to the timeline. For instance, if you and your spouse have a baby, you probably immediately start sharing the obligatory photos and stories of the first few days. Before you know it, a week or two has gone by. But in reality, you never added the fact that you had a baby to begin with. The new Timeline allows you to go back in your timeline and click anywhere to add this glorious “event,” and even add a location and photograph.
Enough about the Profile page, let’s move on to the page you’ll probably visit most often, the main news feed page. Other than the Ticker we all got a few weeks ago, not much has changed about the way it looks or works. I find the Ticker extremely annoying because I only visit Facebook a few times per day, so I don’t really need a second-by-second update. But some people will probably like it. Either way, it’s easily hidden from view with a browser extension, or at least reduced to a small portion of the right-hand sidebar.
Why you won’t be leaving Facebook…
C’mon. You don’t even have the new Timeline Profile page yet. You haven’t even given it a chance. The Feed page Ticker is easily hidden simply by clicking an icon, so I just don’t see you throwing in the towel over that.
But more importantly, you won’t be leaving Facebook because you would be leaving a lot more than Facebook if you permanently delete your account. Think of all the websites you visit that use a Facebook login as an option – rather than having to create new accounts for each one. Now think about all the sites that are now using the Facebook Commenting System, rather than yet another system you would have to create an account for. That’s a lot of usernames and passwords to remember, and yet more places that you would have to hand over your email address to.
Then there’s the biggest reason of all. Everyone else is on Facebook. No, I’m not exaggerating. The explosive growth of Facebook is shown in the graph below. Facebook’s momentum isn’t slowing down, it’s picking up.
Cancel your Facebook account and you effectively cut yourself off from all your friends and family whom you carry-on conversations with, share photos of life events with, and the manner with which you easily share interesting info and other sites with the click of a button. It would all be gone. You’ll be spending a lot of time doing all of that via email again. Welcome to last decade.
Now the few “geeks” (of which I am one) will probably say, “I’ll just switch to Google+ with no problem.” Well I’m here to tell you that Google+ ain’t all that. I’ve been on it since the private beta stage a few months back, and while Google claims to have millions upon millions of members, I haven’t seen them. Google+ is filled with members of the tech media, web geeks, and a small amount of the general public. In short, there just ain’t that much happening on Google+. And let’s be clear, Google collects your information just like Facebook. They’re following what you do everywhere on the web, probably more-so than Facebook. And while it’s quite easy to configure Circles on Google+, it’s not obvious at all how or why you would do so for the average Joe. This will improve over time, but right now I find Google+ to be barely worth visiting.
As Google tries to make Google+ more like Facebook, they’re going to suffer through the same growing pains, and users will be an uproar over the same perceived privacy issues. After all, Google’s entire business model is to gather as much information about you as it can, and use it to sell advertising. In reality, they’re two different products that will probably coexist for a long time – much like Twitter and Facebook have for years – both thriving.
A year or so from now, we’ll all be sitting around complaining about yet another round of changes to Facebook – forgetting that the changes we’ll get in the coming weeks nearly drove us to quit. We’ll all be asking Facebook not to change anything. Again.
Thanks to artbees.com for the Facebook icon.