Fun and the Personal Agenda | Jonathan Glatfelter

| 3 Comments

facebook.jpg
Over the past five years, Facebook and other networking sites have hit all of society and have changed the world as we know it. They have allowed us to communicate with people easily, and they have allowed us to meet people from across the world. What makes these networking platforms so alluring? What brings people to these websites? What makes them fun?

Since Facebook launched back in February of 2004, it has gone through many alterations and facelifts. It seems to be that with every aesthetic fix, the Facebook world blows up in outrage ("The new Facebook SUCKS!" "Why did they change what was working from the start?!" "The newsfeed is horrible!" "I hate the new changes!"). Every time that this has happened, the storm seems to always settle down over the span of a week. What makes these avid users go crazy over change? Is it that they enjoy consistency? Is it no longer fun for a user if the design of the website has been altered? Well, I would think that change would be fun.

The change of a design can really influence society and the "fun factor" that this design has or may have had. A simple change can either mend all of the problems the design had, or it can send people into a total outrage. I use Facebook as an example only because it seems so minute. It's such a widespread tool and its design is really quite simple, yet people have always seemed to get all bitter once its design has been altered in the slightest bit.

While Facebook has made many small changes, they also have made a couple of big changes, the biggest being that of their privacy settings (http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/05/facebook-privacy-changes-inspire-praise-optimism). Less than two years ago, it was stated that Facebook owned anything that anyone had uploaded or posted to the site. Even though many Facebook users were outraged over this comment, many of them opted out on deleting their accounts (http://www.visioncritical.com/newsroom/facebook-users-stop-short-of-deleting-accounts/). How do bigger changes and smaller changes in the design of something change the way people react? People who experience smaller changes to Facebook seem to initially react almost the same way as they do to larger changes. What other companies have done this? How have consumers reacted towards those changes?

References:
Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved November 8, 2010, from http://www.eff.org.

Vision Critical. Retrieved November 8, 2010, from http://www.visioncritical.com.

3 Comments

I think the big issues here are popularity and convenience. Much like allowing grocery stores to track our purchases for a few dollars off at the checkout we trade privacy on Facebook or allow Gmail to search our inbox to populate marketing banners and text ads.

A lot of forums have a similar declaration in the terms of service saying that they own anything you post on the forum. What is the value of such correspondence?

Facebook is interesting because they definitely take the “Ask Forgiveness” approach to program changes. They consistently alter the privacy and interface in ways that make headlines about privacy and security but fail to post these changes on forums ahead of time. Customers may not like the changes but most agree by staying with the service that it is better than going to LinkedIn or MySpace.

James Cosper

Like James said, people stay with Facebook because it's a better networking site than most out there. Because they're so popular, they get a lot of complaints. Do you think Facebook's users have the right to complain about changes to the interface as much as they do, considering the service is free to the user? The changes to the aesthetics of the site are rarely dramatic and are geared towards greater ease of use. Complaining about unadvertised changes to the privacy policy are understandable, but they get lost among all the whining about the design. Why do Facebook's users react the same to change, no matter the scale?

the world is definitely not the same with these search engines and social networks :) but this is the wheel of life

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This page contains a single entry by glatf002 published on November 9, 2010 11:54 PM.

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