For a long while now I’ve not been a big fan of Facebook but it’s been hard to pinpoint exactly what they’ve been doing that bugs me. However recently I’ve noticed how Facebook appears to be getting less and less good at telling me about the important things and better at the same news you can get elsewhere.
Logging into the website to illustrate this shows just how poor that news feed has become. The ‘top stories’ updates (i.e. I assume the things they have curated for me as the most important) are:
- Link to a Sun story from seven days ago;
- A story from a website I follow from six days ago;
- Someone I haven’t seen in six years announcing they got a job five days ago;
- Someone I haven’t seen in ten years announcing they’re in the Navy five days ago;
- A mate changing his profile photo six days ago.
Hardly a compelling selection. Even switching to the ‘most recent’ option doesn’t show any stories before five days ago. Truly, what is the point? I can honestly say I’ve no interest in any of the recent stuff it’s been presenting me with. I imagine this is down to two things: my friends aren’t updating very often and Facebook’s sneaky new policy of charging to get those updates out to more people.
Of late in my circle of friends I’ve missed several break-ups, a marriage and a baby announcement. Why? Because (quite rightly) they weren’t put on there. How did I find out? From talking to friends. This is still where I find out about the important stuff.
So if I’m not missing anything important what am I getting from Zuckerberg’s network? I don’t post updates (as Twitter is better for that) and I barely look at people’s photos because as I grow up I get past caring if I missed something. There was a time when it was unsurpassable for event organising as if you said you were going to a party it was a guarantee of attendance but I don’t place much importance in that any more. I can barely be arsed with uploading my own photos as it’s a poor experience due to them changing the interface every time.
But I still can’t bring myself to fully quit. I guess I’m afraid that something of importance might yet happen that I won’t see. And it would be a massive hassle to sign back up again. Also they’ve got all my data anyway so at least I should have access to it rather than just leaving it to them.
Instead I’ve set up email notifications for all the major events I’m interested in and logged out for good. I’ve been about a month out of the game now and once I got over the daily reflex trigger to check Facebook I can’t say it’s been missed. In fact in the last two weeks I’ve had just the one email from them. And that was a friend request from someone I don’t know. Whilst I won’t have fully dropped off the grid, I’m not going to be one of the ‘active’ users that logged in during the last month.
So cheers for keeping me connected for the last five years or so Mark, many a good gathering was organised through your platform and the funny image results were inevitably hosted with you afterwards. But I’ve got the email addresses of the close friends I care about and for everyone else there’s the much more eclectic and real-time Twitter.