Newer, Better, Bigger

(Originally posted September 14, 2008)

Facebook-related post.
Be thankful that, unlike Facebook,
actually gets better over time, not worse.


I wallow in misery. To my horror, Facebook has implemented sweeping changes to its layout. Facebook forced these “innovations” upon me yesterday. Apparently the changes occur in waves, afflicting different people at separate times to prevent a worldwide uproar. Chiefly among the annoying alterations, Facebook developers split my profile into four disconnected sections. The New Facebook bars me from reconstituting my profile as one, singular whole. Sadly, even the links to the DREW BLOG no longer appear on the front page. My dismembered profile rests in ashes.

How could such a monstrosity as the New Facebook emerge? Every monstrosity develops over time, but some emerge more quickly than others. Overall, parallels abound between Facebook and the United States government. And like government, Facebook never stops growing.

In 2004, the website began in elegant simplicity. Ultimately, however, Facebook embraced self-complication in an attempt to match the complexity of its global rival, Myspace.

A little complexity can be nice, of course. One early Facebook innovation was the Newsfeed. This homepage feature provided up-to-date information about what friends were doing. Whereas some users whined about the Newsfeed, I always praised the Newsfeed as a positive innovation. Regardless, criticism of the Newsfeed never raged against the feature’s complexity. Instead, critics merely called the Newsfeed too “stalkerish.” Considering that Facebook “stalking” causes no harm to others, I found this criticism girly and stupid.

The Newsfeed encouraged users to log on more frequently, thereby increasing the success of Facebook advertisements. I personally began utilizing certain ads, even buying a Rambo shirt from one such sponsor. Ultimately, Facebook responded even to criticisms about this positive feature. Developers implemented better privacy options, which could essentially negate the Newsfeed’s existence for more timid users.

Overall, this early innovation gave users additional freedom and options, not more restrictions.

Even after developing the Newsfeed, however, founder Mark Zuckerberg held out hope for additional change. Discontent with his power and population, he expanded his domain to include new realms. First, high schoolers joined the service, and then ultimately anyone with an email address could sign up. Facebook nativists protested this unregulated influx of foreigners. Eventually, however, most users grew to accept the newcomers.

Of course, the newcomers did present some problems. Spamming began to disrupt the service from within. Facebook “applications” eventually began to take over, harassing and tormenting innocent bystanders. The people cried out for reform. The Facebook rulers responded by mildly restricting the communication of applications, allowing users to “block” annoying programs and messages. Overall, Facebook successfully clamped down on much of the nonsense caused by its own global expansion.

Much like real government, the rulers of Facebook solved certain problems aptly, even while simultaneously creating others. Most unfortunately, however, these leaders began to see problems where none really existed. They strived for utopia, only to fall into hell.

Faced with the clutter on certain profiles brought about by the implementation of Facebook applications, the brilliant Facebook reformers sprang to action. Because some application whores loaded too much junk on their profiles – making their pages difficult to load – Facebook mandated a new, centralized organization for every profile. Such is the New Facebook. No one had any choice in the matter. Even the mild-mannered, responsible individuals whose simple profiles contained their only religious views, a few quotes, and maybe a wall now had to divide these features across different “tabs.”

The new modifications serve two main purposes. First, they force users to click their mice more often, increasing the number of ads viewed. Second, the mandated organization allows application whores to accept as many inane, pointless applications as they desire without cluttering their profiles.

Of course, additional mouse-clicks and ads viewed simply mean that users will spend less time reading each ad. Moreover, the awkward new layout lacks elegance and beauty. Whereas the new alterations will coerce individuals into “ordering” their profiles, users consequently lose the liberty to arrange their profiles freely. Even assuming that cluttered profiles were indeed a problem, better solutions existed. For example, one less restrictive measure could simply limit the number of applications allowed per profile.

Application whores would cry foul over such a restriction, but the current changes do the same thing – while simultaneously harming everyone else. Like government, Facebook promotes irresponsibility and stupidity among its citizens, and then picks the dumbest way possible to remedy the problem.


Founder Mark Zuckerberg poses in front of his latest innovation.

Like government, Facebook gives people salaries for accomplishing nothing. Facebook pays certain geniuses to sit around all day brainstorming wonderful solutions for problems. These employees pursue frequent and constant alterations, always embracing the maniacal dream of a newer, better, bigger Facebook. Ever discontent with the status quo, these overpaid theorists have now dismembered every profile, mangling a familiar and beloved product. Besides funding these brilliant college graduates, Facebook also pays big bucks to company founder Mark Zuckerberg. Surprisingly, these fat cats grow rich even while Facebook itself has never earned a profit. Like government, Facebook maintains large deficits and grows deeper in debt by the day. In 2008, for example, Facebook will have losses of somewhere around $50 million.

Unfortunately, even though millions of users actively protested the latest changes, resistance seems to be futile. The New Facebook is a monstrosity. I would much prefer four more years of the same.

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