I use Facebook all day, every day. Even when I’m not sitting at my computer, I leave it open in a tab in Firefox. It’s just there. But I’m not the kind to endlessly scroll through my News Feed, looking for new pictures to like or stories to comment on. To be honest, I probably see less than one percent of what my friends post; I pretty much just leave it open for Facebook Chat.
And that’s weird to think about. Do you remember when Facebook Chat first launched? It was HORRIBLE. It was unreliable and totally not user friendly. I’d message friends, and those messages wouldn’t go through. Or they’d go through, but I wouldn’t see responses to those messages. It forced me to use an AIM client to talk to my friends, but that was okay; I was still using Facebook for Facebook.
When I look at Facebook now, I get a little sad and upset by how much bloat there is. Roughly three-quarters of the left-hand column on my home page is stuff I can’t even pretend to care about; the ‘Apps,’ ‘Friends,’ ‘Groups’ and ‘Interests’ section serve no purpose for me, other than to muddy up my display. (I’m sure there are ads mucking things up, too, but AdBlock takes care of those.)
That’s why I like Paper for iOS so much. It’s clean with no bloat. I don’t see ads, or entire sections of the page I don’t care about. It’s wonderful. But recently, I’ve even been using Paper less and less, since Facebook scared me into downloading the Messenger app. Turns out, I didn’t need to – messaging is staying in Paper. But that still doesn’t change how I use Facebook.
Facebook has changed so much over the years, and people are sick of it. They want to scrap it and start over. I understand the feeling, but I don’t agree. Facebook is just a (weird) place where Mark Zuckerberg and company keep trying new things, in the hope that things stick. Most of it doesn’t work, and they scrap it or tweak it for a future release. Other stuff works – and they still may scrap or tweak it.
The Facebook of today isn’t the same Facebook I signed up for nearly eight years ago, but that’s fine. It would be insane if it hadn’t changed. As Facebook changes, I change the way I use it. Today, it’s pretty much a messaging service with a section to check what stories are trending and a place for me to share cool stuff. That’s enough for me... but is it enough for you? And is it enough for Zuck?
We’ll have to wait and see. I’m getting pretty good at that. Hit me with your best shot, Facebook.