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Facebook blowback blows

or, "Facebook, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden" (this is a terrible reference)

You know why I'm sick of this Facebook redesign (and every Facebook change, ever)? The inevitable and inexorable whining.

Yes, I realize that whining about people that are whining is standard-issue hypocritical. But I'd like to believe that I'm putting forth a more reasonable case than the thousands of one-line comments to the "New Layout Vote" Facebook app.

People cried "stalker feed" at the introduction of news feeds. People hated tabbed profile pages (I loved it, I was sick of all the app boxes) as much as people hated the loss of "Facebook guy." Yadda yadda yadda. Facebook seems to go through it's period every six months or so.

But for some reason, Facebook has been surpassing MySpace in active users and traffic. (And it's still getting bigger.)

In the end, we'll all just deal with it and move on, because the most common suggestion ("go back to the old one") is literally a step back and a waste of Facebook's time and money. It's coherent enough and I think, with time they'll make it work (like every design change they've made). The naysayers can have their fill, but this is not a branding disaster that Facebook should backpedal upon. (Aside: the new name for Sci Fi Channel should be.)

But! Instead of simply bitching about the whole blowback overreaction—I got heat for this last time Facebook made changes—I challenge folks to "put up or shut up" and actually develop a coherent argument against the changes. This is how sick I am of seeing that app and those statuses on my home page.

Keep reading. Really.

Speaking of, I wonder who runs that one Facebook app, because it's obviously not Facebook themselves.

That screenshot image on the app's page, comes from one of those previews on the official Facebook blog. The ol' "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" images on the app page come from That IP reverses to "," according to Just a regular ol' site that sells computers. That domain, in turn, shows a private registration as opposed to a company name or contact. (Yes, I'm aware I'm a little crazy, digging into the reverse DNS record and the domain whois records and all. It's that hackin', web developin' side of me.)


Oddness aside, the overwhelmingly negative response indicated by that app is (in my eyes) severely based on response bias. As in, most of the results come out negative because dislike of the change solicits a stronger vocal response than the positive opinion of a user who likes or tolerates it. There aren't a lot of people who love it enough to voice that about it, leading to the lower positive response percentage. Everybody else on the middle-ground to positive end of the scale won't care enough and won't care for your app invites.

So, a challenge. Don't like the design? Create an opinion of more than 20 words. Hate the design a lot? Quit Facebook. All of your stuff will still be there if you decide to come back. "Put up or shut up," or "shut up and jam," if you will. If people are still talking about this redesign when my Spring Break is over (March 29), then I'll delete my Facebook account for at least two weeks from that date.

It's part "I guess the new iteration is that bad," part "I need to get away from the whiners," part "here's an excuse to deactivate my account again."

Actually, scratch that. I'm going to deactivate my account come Spring Break (midday Friday) and we'll see what happens from there. I just remembered how liberating it is to disconnect from that and reconnect with everything else in life. (How many hours do you use Facebook or MySpace or Twitter, eh?)

I've used this quote before and someday, I swear I'll write something really meaningful around it:

Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We are dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something. We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.
—Kurt Vonnegut

So maybe let's (you, me, whoever) stop complaining about some intangible pixels and words on a screen for a little while. Maybe I shouldn't have bothered to write this and maybe we shouldn't care so much about minutiae in our technological niceties, after all. There are better things to worry about and better ways to waste our time.