On March 30th all Facebook members will be mandated to switch to the new creepy and hugely unpopular Timeline format…like it or not. The new format is a dream for internet stalkers everywhere who will now be able to review every status update you have ever posted! It used to be that status updates would magically disappear after a certain amount of time had passed or newer updates were posted which most people saw as a big plus. I mean how many times did you cringe when you saw what you wrote on someone’s wall the night before, or when you posted a drunk status update at 2am in the midst of an impulse control moment?
It seems odd and counter to the spirit of Facebook and social networking in general which seems to vanquish in the power of NOW! I mean can you imagine wanting to see someone’s Twitter-feed from two years ago? It would be like showing reruns of the news. Once it leaves the realm of “what’s happening now” it loses value exponentially. So why is Facebook making this antiquated approach of cataloguing every spur of the moment thought mandatory and not optional despite a wave of criticism?
It occurred to me that maybe Facebook was self-destructing on purpose. Sounds crazy, right? Why would a multi-billion dollar empire destroy itself? Well perhaps Facebook is a victim of it’s own success. It was a brilliant machine to catalogue information about millions…actually now billions of people, information that was extremely valuable to companies seeking their business.
Many people have been critical of Facebook for some of the shady ways that they have shared people’s personal information with big business. Facebook was a double-edged sword for corporate America. It allowed them to gather and share information like never before, BUT it also allowed people to gather and share information about corporate America like never before. Think BP oil spill or Bank of America fee increases. Facebook was an extremely powerful and effective forum for people to organize and oppose corporations.
It also was a forum to expose and oppose government. Think NDAA, SOPA/PIPA and KONY 2012. (and by KONY I mean the propaganda film that is now launching us into war with Africa). Suddenly people were powerful because they were organized. The government could use the tool to launch propaganda to the masses but the masses could use the tool fight back. This Frankenstein that the cyber-world had created to serve corporate America had turned the tables around on it’s creators.
The following are just a few of the serious concerns and criticisms about this new format:
1: The page is extremely confusing. It’s reminiscent of MySpace and other failed networks. Looking at the page your eye doesn’t know where to go. It’s not intuitive. It’s just utter cacophony and confusion. We read left to right in this country so by that token the left side should post the most recent updates. But instead the updates are all over the place. Some are on the left, some are on the right. And “posts by others” require you to click on that section in order to actually see what others have posted. Techies know it’s all about minimizing the clicks if you want people to stay on your page. Each click is another 2 seconds someone has to wait to find what they are looking for and a good chance they are gonna leave. It makes corraling energy to create any sort of meaningful change virtually impossible.
2: Having all this extraneous info on your page is going to slow down your internet dramatically. If you don’t have a fast internet connection then you’ll have to stick to the news feed.
3. Internet stalkers can now review every day of your life. I suspect the new Timeline format will result in a lot of break-ups.
4. The format is extremely unpopular so why is Facebook making such a bad business decision? Just look at all the comments on the Facebook Timeline page. They are overwhelmingly negative! Why would they do something knowing it would result in a backlash? Zuckerberg can be accused of alot of things, but a bad businessman he is not! This decision is so bizarre from a business standpoint that it defies any rational explanation.
So back to my theory. If Facebook really was trying to destroy itself why wouldn’t it just shut-down? Why make it frustrating and cumbersome to use instead? Likely, if Facebook were to just shut down there would be a tsunami of suspicion and backlash against corporate America but if they simply change to a format that people don’t like it looks like it has simply run its course and people will just move to something else. I mean when the media is writing stories about how Obama has changed to the new Timeline format, something is up!
You may say well why is Facebook going public at the same time it’s trying to self-destruct? That’s easy….because they can collect billions of dollars from investors on the way out. They may know they have peaked so in order to maximize profits they need to go public. Investors think Facebook is just getting started and will gladly hand over their money. Facebook can take the billions and bury them in “expenses” and sit by and watch as the empire falls. This act of apparent self-sabotage may be very well thought out and intentional.
This is just a theory, but pay close attention to what happens with this situation!
Take a minute to weigh-in on our Facebook poll ….