Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Deeper Issue Behind Facebook's Annoying Changes

A couple years ago a fellow journalist suggested I join the social networking site Facebook. By using the site to post links to articles I write, she said, my writing would have greater visibility.

My friend was right. Since being on Facebook the amount of people who read my articles has doubled. Moreover, I have found it to be an invaluable tool for networking with other intellectuals, many of whom have contributed valuable insights to my own projects.
 
At the same time, however, Facebook is not without its drawbacks. In particular, the more I use the service, the more I have become aware of certain worldview assumptions implicit in the project.

This was impressed upon me last year when Facebook supposedly “improved” its layout. The normal news feeds are now duplicated with a “ticker” on the right hand side that offers a constantly changing stream of details about what my friends are doing in real time. For example, right now my ticker is showing me that one of my friends just finished listening to Schumann’s “Carnaval”, that another friend is telling his wife how much he loves her, and that another friend just managed to get her children to school on time.
 
Almost nobody is happy with the changes which allow you to “Facebook while you Facebook.” And although they keep saying it’s possible for individual users to revert back to the old style, I haven’t yet figured out how to do that.
 
OK, so it’s annoying, but is there anything deeper going on?

In an article I published with the Chuck Colson Center, I argue that the answer to this question is yes. To read my observations, click on the following link:



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