The New Facebook: Change I Can’t Believe In


Published: October 2, 2008

I believe that change isn’t always for the better. I’m not one who adjusts very well, so when things change in a drastic way and in such a short period of time, I begin to panic. You can imagine the distress I experienced upon logging onto Facebook one morning to find a message from the developers informing me of the transformation Facebook would soon undergo. Many questions began to run through my mind. How was I going to adjust to these changes? It had taken me nearly a year to finally get the hang of the current version of Facebook, and now, after finally adjusting to its layout and design, they were going to change it again? Before becoming hostile towards the designers and creating a Facebook group to express my outrage and frustration, as many others chose to do, I decided to give the “New” Facebook a try.

I was highly disappointed, to say the least. The simple, streamlined design of my homepage had been converted into a hodgepodge of tabs, gratuitous advertisements offering “sexy singles” and an assortment of menus that made it impossible for me to navigate the Web site. Though I was overwhelmed and utterly confused, I remained slightly optimistic and held my composure long enough to want to see the changes that had been made to my profile. It couldn’t get any worse.

Or so I thought.

The profile that had once shown fellow users my basic information, my plethora of vulgar bumper stickers and my wall had essentially become my worst nightmare. Everything felt so out of place. My wall had been completely dismantled and was now integrated with my profile updates, making it very difficult for me to distinguish one from the other. My basic info was only retrievable if I clicked on a tab at the top of the page, and my inappropriately hilarious bumper stickers were nowhere to be found. My profile looked more like a first-year Web design student’s failure of a final project than anything remotely akin to Facebook. If the developers guaranteed its users a “simpler, cleaner, more relevant and easier to control” Facebook, then why was there a tutorial? I’m not a Web design expert, but once your Web site requires that there also be a section devoted to teaching users how to use a supposedly “simpler” new design, you know there’s trouble.

Perhaps the most frightening addition to the “New” Facebook was the creation of the Live Feed, or as I would like to refer to it as, the “stalker’s paradise.” Facebook had already pushed the envelope when it came to people’s privacy on the Internet, but this Live Feed brings stalking to the next level. With this tool, a person could receive live, up-to-the-minute information about their friends’ every activity on Facebook, as if the News Feed wasn’t bad enough.

At that point in time, the option to return to the old Facebook was still available to users who didn’t particularly care for its new design, and I was thankful that they offered us that choice. As the weeks progressed and I continued using the old Facebook, I became more opposed to the idea of the “New” Facebook. I crossed my fingers every time I logged on, hoping that, because of the overwhelming number of Anti-New Facebook groups, the designers would come to their senses and simply accept the fact that old Facebook was here to stay. I was wrong.

The fateful day when “New” Facebook became the “only Facebook” occurred in early September. Status updates from a majority of my friends over the next 72 hours centered on the issue of “New” Facebook and the incredible amount of disdain they had for its shoddy and incomprehensible design. I tried all I could to get the old Facebook back. I sent threatening e-mails to the Facebook designers and mass text messages to friends, urging each of them to send their negative feedback. After a week of joining an unhealthy number of Anti-New Facebook groups and sending e-mails to anyone that would listen to my frustrations, I came to the realization that old Facebook wasn’t going to be making its comeback. My only hope today is that the designers of Facebook hear us out and, even if they can’t revert back to using the old Facebook, can learn to make adjustments to the “New” Facebook so that people who are technologically deficient, such as myself, can continue to utilize Facebook as their ultimate form of procrastination.