Facebook under major revolt

OK, OK, I tried to avoid the whole Facebook thing. After all, I’m not a college student so don’t really think it applies to me but their community is in the middle of a major revolt.

The Facebook team has shown very little astuteness about how to deal with communities, though.

Having your CEO to tell people to “calm down” (as reported on TechCrunch, actually on their own blog) ain’t the way to get people to stop throwing molotov cocktails through your front window.

When the users talk, you should listen. And listening is hard sometimes.

Other notable discussion of this issue:

Jack Schofield in the Guardian Unlimited, writes “Facebook’s giant blunder.”

Mark Canter takes Facebook’s side (but explains that Facebook should cry Uncle and listen to its users) in a post titled “Facebook gets dissed by its users for providing coolio new features.”

Kristin Maverick, who writes the BitePR blog, penned this headline: Facebook rightfully earns the name Stalkerbook with new features.

And, of course, there are more, many more, posts over on TechMeme.

Drew Meyers is reporting that in just 30 minutes tonight that more than 20,000 people joined the protest page.

This doesn’t seem to be something small or containable.

What should Facebook do?

1) Get out of text. Use video to talk with your community. Video is better than text because it is more human, more connecting, and more likely to get links. Also, you can make your case much better to the community in video than in text. But, basically, I’d recommend giving them what they want. The feedback is so overwhelming that you need to turn off the new features by default and add more granularity to the tracking behavior.

2) Build a community group with a good cross-section of your users. That you can talk with in a small room. Include both “Z list” and “A list” and a few inbetween too in this group. Make it as diverse as you can. Include people from around the world. PAY THEM to fly into meet with you. Then have them ask your development teams what they are doing on their behalf. Video that to the world live and encourage them to blog and podcast whatever they want to the world. Demonstrate that you’re humble, listening, and able to make decisions on their behalf right there and then.

3) Open up your company to real, interactive, blogging. Demonstrate you are listening. Listen. Listen. Listen. If you don’t know what I mean by that, open up Google Blog Search or Technorati. Type “Facebook” into there. Then start writing on your blog where you link to EVERYONE who has something nasty to say about you and answer their questions honestly and openly. Word on the street is that Facebook is a very conservative company internally when it comes to blogging. Now is the time to open that up and get everyone to make a human connection to your users.

4) Engage with bloggers. Directly. In their comments. I’m seeing way too many blogs without ANY comment from Facebook employees, especially the negative ones. Don’t just talk with TechCrunch and Scoble and other “A listers.” Get out to EVERYONE if you want to turn this around.

Good luck, you’re gonna need it. You’re in for a wild ride.

Comments

  1. Robert:

    I think the biggest problem with the current implementation of the “Feed” feature is the inablity to turn it either on or off at the discretion of the user (the “mini-feed” and/or the “feed” on the main page). From my perspective, that is exactly what has turned me and my fellow students off from the new updates. Although Facebook is more structured than Myspace, there still needs to be some space for user customization (forcing a new feature is simply not the answer).

  2. Robert:

    I think the biggest problem with the current implementation of the “Feed” feature is the inablity to turn it either on or off at the discretion of the user (the “mini-feed” and/or the “feed” on the main page). From my perspective, that is exactly what has turned me and my fellow students off from the new updates. Although Facebook is more structured than Myspace, there still needs to be some space for user customization (forcing a new feature is simply not the answer).

  3. I think this shows how out of touch some Web 2.0 bloggers are with actual users- “Web 2.0 experts” like Canter, Arrington, and Om’s writers focus on “the coolio features” from a technical/”we’ve never seen THAT before” aspect, with zero concern/experience in how communities like FaceBook and its users use the services. How can they review services for these communities from the outside? Answer, its obvious in this case they can’t, and totally missed the boat on this.

  4. I think this shows how out of touch some Web 2.0 bloggers are with actual users- “Web 2.0 experts” like Canter, Arrington, and Om’s writers focus on “the coolio features” from a technical/”we’ve never seen THAT before” aspect, with zero concern/experience in how communities like FaceBook and its users use the services. How can they review services for these communities from the outside? Answer, its obvious in this case they can’t, and totally missed the boat on this.

  5. My grandfather used to say, “The fastest way to the bottom of the mountain is to run right off the side of the road but that don’t mean it’s a good idea.”

    I suspect Facebook was full of good intentions but were taken in by some overzealous programmer whose only goal is to show what he can do. There’s a ton of websites out there with too many useless and potentially harmfull whistles and bells. Instead of asking, “What else CAN we do?” programmers (and their CEOs) need to ask, “What do we NEED to do?”

    By the way, I hear that 20,000 is now up to 130,000 and growing.

  6. My grandfather used to say, “The fastest way to the bottom of the mountain is to run right off the side of the road but that don’t mean it’s a good idea.”

    I suspect Facebook was full of good intentions but were taken in by some overzealous programmer whose only goal is to show what he can do. There’s a ton of websites out there with too many useless and potentially harmfull whistles and bells. Instead of asking, “What else CAN we do?” programmers (and their CEOs) need to ask, “What do we NEED to do?”

    By the way, I hear that 20,000 is now up to 130,000 and growing.

  7. Hi Robert,

    My daughter just left for a semester in France.

    The last thing she did before leaving was to start up a “Face Book is Now Retarded” group. (Happy to send you the screen grab!)

    These guys have just put square wheels on a car that was crusing along at 120mph in first gear. Sadly, they’re about to find out just how fast that car can come to a screeching halt.

    Your thoughts are bang on. The key question is this: with such a fickle audience, is it already too late?

    Cheers,

    Rick

  8. Hi Robert,

    My daughter just left for a semester in France.

    The last thing she did before leaving was to start up a “Face Book is Now Retarded” group. (Happy to send you the screen grab!)

    These guys have just put square wheels on a car that was crusing along at 120mph in first gear. Sadly, they’re about to find out just how fast that car can come to a screeching halt.

    Your thoughts are bang on. The key question is this: with such a fickle audience, is it already too late?

    Cheers,

    Rick

  9. Facebooker: good point. It’s one reason I haven’t written much about Facebook. It just isn’t something I understand or use in my daily life so I’d rather stay away from judging it.

  10. Facebooker: good point. It’s one reason I haven’t written much about Facebook. It just isn’t something I understand or use in my daily life so I’d rather stay away from judging it.

  11. Yes, everything about “listening” is vital. This theme is becoming a fad. Company doesn’t listen. Customers revolt. It sounds so simple to resolve. However, change resistance is an ugly cancer.

  12. Yes, everything about “listening” is vital. This theme is becoming a fad. Company doesn’t listen. Customers revolt. It sounds so simple to resolve. However, change resistance is an ugly cancer.

  13. “When the users talk, you should listen. And listening is hard sometimes.”

    Don’t forget “should be willing to fight standard company process”. I, and no doubt others, deal with the client’s retort as “I know, I know, but it just can’t be done because of A, B, and C and la la la” and then it becomes forgotten until a long awaited “I told you so” comes from my mouth.

  14. “When the users talk, you should listen. And listening is hard sometimes.”

    Don’t forget “should be willing to fight standard company process”. I, and no doubt others, deal with the client’s retort as “I know, I know, but it just can’t be done because of A, B, and C and la la la” and then it becomes forgotten until a long awaited “I told you so” comes from my mouth.

  15. I have to say that I love the new features. But then I’m an old foggy to most college students and clearly not the target audience for them. Though I do have an account and even have some friends there.
    I think that Facebook miss understood their audience in some regards. To me it was pretty obvious that this was just an easier way to get the same information that was always available. I see that as a positive step. But I think that a lot of people with Facebook accounts want the information there but because they take anyone as friend they really only want people who care enough about them to dig for information to find it all. These features break that illusion.
    I wrote about this a bit on my own blog of course. :-)

  16. I have to say that I love the new features. But then I’m an old foggy to most college students and clearly not the target audience for them. Though I do have an account and even have some friends there.
    I think that Facebook miss understood their audience in some regards. To me it was pretty obvious that this was just an easier way to get the same information that was always available. I see that as a positive step. But I think that a lot of people with Facebook accounts want the information there but because they take anyone as friend they really only want people who care enough about them to dig for information to find it all. These features break that illusion.
    I wrote about this a bit on my own blog of course. :-)

  17. I’m not a Facebook user, so I have to ask: is what Zuckerberg wrote in his blog post true (i.e. this feature doesn’t share any information with anyone who wouldn’t already have had access to the same information, but just aggregates it)?

    If that’s the case, then the Facebook “revolt” would seem to be led by (and comprised of) idiots.

  18. I’m not a Facebook user, so I have to ask: is what Zuckerberg wrote in his blog post true (i.e. this feature doesn’t share any information with anyone who wouldn’t already have had access to the same information, but just aggregates it)?

    If that’s the case, then the Facebook “revolt” would seem to be led by (and comprised of) idiots.

  19. Use video to talk with your community. Video is better than text because it is more human, more connecting, and more likely to get links.

    *cough*

    Is this the same Scoble who used to skim-read 1000 feeds a day?

    For most of us who don’t deal with it for a living video (and audio) posts are a huge waste of time. I can consume this post as text in a minute or two; as video, it would take five or ten minutes. I won’t bother.

    Case in point: I have stopped reading Matt Cutts’ blog since he started posting video rather than text. I find his posts interesting, but my time is too short to sit through him *reading* them.

  20. Use video to talk with your community. Video is better than text because it is more human, more connecting, and more likely to get links.

    *cough*

    Is this the same Scoble who used to skim-read 1000 feeds a day?

    For most of us who don’t deal with it for a living video (and audio) posts are a huge waste of time. I can consume this post as text in a minute or two; as video, it would take five or ten minutes. I won’t bother.

    Case in point: I have stopped reading Matt Cutts’ blog since he started posting video rather than text. I find his posts interesting, but my time is too short to sit through him *reading* them.

  21. James: Yes, and it’s also the same Scoble that carried a video camera around. Some things need to be taken into video. If they are important they’ll get transcripted on every blog around the sun anyway.

  22. James: Yes, and it’s also the same Scoble that carried a video camera around. Some things need to be taken into video. If they are important they’ll get transcripted on every blog around the sun anyway.

  23. I’m not a Facebook user, so I have to ask: is what Zuckerberg wrote in his blog post true (i.e. this feature doesn’t share any information with anyone who wouldn’t already have had access to the same information, but just aggregates it)?

    If that’s the case, then the Facebook “revolt” would seem to be led by (and comprised of) idiots.

    Yes it’s true. The difference is that before if you wanted to find out if any of your friends had a new friend you had to visit their profile. That could take a while if you had a lot of friends. Now you see all that information on your home page. So there isn’t new information available but it is a lot more easily available. I like the feature but I understand why some would not. A lot depends on how you see the Internet and what your privacy model is.

  24. I’m not a Facebook user, so I have to ask: is what Zuckerberg wrote in his blog post true (i.e. this feature doesn’t share any information with anyone who wouldn’t already have had access to the same information, but just aggregates it)?

    If that’s the case, then the Facebook “revolt” would seem to be led by (and comprised of) idiots.

    Yes it’s true. The difference is that before if you wanted to find out if any of your friends had a new friend you had to visit their profile. That could take a while if you had a lot of friends. Now you see all that information on your home page. So there isn’t new information available but it is a lot more easily available. I like the feature but I understand why some would not. A lot depends on how you see the Internet and what your privacy model is.

  25. Robert: I completely agree with your each of your prescriptions. Including the video. James, as a general rule, you’re right: video is a lot less efficient than skimming text. But this is not the kind of circumstance where general rules apply. When you step into a whole this deep, you need extraordinary responses. In a case like this, listening to and responding to your customers will carry you further than talking to the press and the A-list bloggers.

    Let the A-listers catch you in the act of doing the right thing. Then they’ll naturally amplify your effective response, Don’t try and enlist A-listers as megaphones for your talking points.

  26. Robert: I completely agree with your each of your prescriptions. Including the video. James, as a general rule, you’re right: video is a lot less efficient than skimming text. But this is not the kind of circumstance where general rules apply. When you step into a whole this deep, you need extraordinary responses. In a case like this, listening to and responding to your customers will carry you further than talking to the press and the A-list bloggers.

    Let the A-listers catch you in the act of doing the right thing. Then they’ll naturally amplify your effective response, Don’t try and enlist A-listers as megaphones for your talking points.

  27. When FaceBook got an offer for 750M, they should have gone for it.. instead they are hoping for 2 Billion, which i think is way too much for the site

  28. When FaceBook got an offer for 750M, they should have gone for it.. instead they are hoping for 2 Billion, which i think is way too much for the site

  29. I don’t use Facebook (not a student, either), so I don’t have enough context to judge the new features.

    But there is one BIG thing I’m seeing that tells me that they don’t “get it”:

    Their “blog” doesn’t have a feed of any kind that you can subscribe to.

    That, to me, is enough to write them off, in my book.

  30. I don’t use Facebook (not a student, either), so I don’t have enough context to judge the new features.

    But there is one BIG thing I’m seeing that tells me that they don’t “get it”:

    Their “blog” doesn’t have a feed of any kind that you can subscribe to.

    That, to me, is enough to write them off, in my book.

  31. Okay Robert no offense but what is the first piece of advice from someone who now works at a Hammer company, “well you need a different tool to fix your communication, you NEED a Hammer.”

    I agree they need to communicate more directly with their user base but Hammers aren’t necessarily ‘their’ answer. Let them find what works for them, but I agree they need to start improve the process of communication.

  32. Okay Robert no offense but what is the first piece of advice from someone who now works at a Hammer company, “well you need a different tool to fix your communication, you NEED a Hammer.”

    I agree they need to communicate more directly with their user base but Hammers aren’t necessarily ‘their’ answer. Let them find what works for them, but I agree they need to start improve the process of communication.

  33. Hey

    To Brain’s question in comment number 11, the answer is yes. I’m a facebook user and nothing you don’t want shared isn’t. The problem is most just leave the settings as is when they sign up, so everyone we add as a “friend” can see what we all do.

    People just need to change their privacy settings or click the “x” in their profile, which takes the action they just did, add a picture/friend or what ever they just did, from out of the news feed. But most don’t know this and well, they are acting just like a college group world. Mob rules are taking over in this 100,000+ strong group.

    There are just as many groups for the new features as there are against them. Just most who like them aren’t being as vocal as the anti mod. I for one like the new features as I can see what is happening in all my friends lives, especial the ones living outside of Toronto, Canada.

    Scoble, I think you should let the Facebook guys know your opinion and how they can try and turn this situation around. As a PR guy as well as a student, I think your idea could work to a degree.

  34. Thomas: I’ve been doing video for about three years and got Microsoft’s Channel 9 site up to about 4.3 million unique visitors.

    You’ll note that I keep doing both a blog and a video blog and last week I was on a podcast too. Use the right media tool for the job.

  35. Hey

    To Brain’s question in comment number 11, the answer is yes. I’m a facebook user and nothing you don’t want shared isn’t. The problem is most just leave the settings as is when they sign up, so everyone we add as a “friend” can see what we all do.

    People just need to change their privacy settings or click the “x” in their profile, which takes the action they just did, add a picture/friend or what ever they just did, from out of the news feed. But most don’t know this and well, they are acting just like a college group world. Mob rules are taking over in this 100,000+ strong group.

    There are just as many groups for the new features as there are against them. Just most who like them aren’t being as vocal as the anti mod. I for one like the new features as I can see what is happening in all my friends lives, especial the ones living outside of Toronto, Canada.

    Scoble, I think you should let the Facebook guys know your opinion and how they can try and turn this situation around. As a PR guy as well as a student, I think your idea could work to a degree.

  36. Thomas: I’ve been doing video for about three years and got Microsoft’s Channel 9 site up to about 4.3 million unique visitors.

    You’ll note that I keep doing both a blog and a video blog and last week I was on a podcast too. Use the right media tool for the job.

  37. You know, it strikes me as odd, yet fitting, that all these Community Web 2.0 companies, can’t seem to ever understand the communities, they, themselves created, SixFallingApart, Friendster, YouTube, and now Facebook. The programming geeky arrogance, makes not for great customer relations.

    Microsoft needs most of Wagged and a small army of infantry extras, just to stay float. Sounds like these Webby companies could use a lesson or two…

  38. You know, it strikes me as odd, yet fitting, that all these Community Web 2.0 companies, can’t seem to ever understand the communities, they, themselves created, SixFallingApart, Friendster, YouTube, and now Facebook. The programming geeky arrogance, makes not for great customer relations.

    Microsoft needs most of Wagged and a small army of infantry extras, just to stay float. Sounds like these Webby companies could use a lesson or two…

  39. Robert I am not ignorant of that work, but still when you work for a hammer company every problem can look like a nail…I agree it gets down to the right tool for the right problem.

  40. Robert I am not ignorant of that work, but still when you work for a hammer company every problem can look like a nail…I agree it gets down to the right tool for the right problem.

  41. Thomas: great, but they aren’t doing a good job of blogging, either. Telling their customers to “calm down?”

    If a PR professional told them to say that then that firm should be fired immediately and someone more professional should be called in to help them out.

    Heck, I’d give them advice for free. My cell phone is on my blog. I’ve lived through a few media storms in my day. I have lots of PR horsepower to help them out. I can get them guys at Edelman or Waggener Edstrom to help them deal with this firestorm and get them out.

    I have authority here cause I’ve done 600 videos for a major corporation (four, actually, cause I had Amazon, Google, and F5 in my videos too).

  42. Thomas: great, but they aren’t doing a good job of blogging, either. Telling their customers to “calm down?”

    If a PR professional told them to say that then that firm should be fired immediately and someone more professional should be called in to help them out.

    Heck, I’d give them advice for free. My cell phone is on my blog. I’ve lived through a few media storms in my day. I have lots of PR horsepower to help them out. I can get them guys at Edelman or Waggener Edstrom to help them deal with this firestorm and get them out.

    I have authority here cause I’ve done 600 videos for a major corporation (four, actually, cause I had Amazon, Google, and F5 in my videos too).

  43. Dude no need to pull the A-Lister stats to try to impress, number of videos or other assort crap (kidding , I live the Z list ;))

    I understand when I said right tool I didn’t say blogging, I agree reading and talking with blogs is another answer. Nothing wrong with it. Even if we don’t exactly agree (mostly we do in issue it’s minor quibble issues) you have talked more tonight than they probably have in the last month. I wouldn’t know I am not on the Facebook inlist.

    I don’t doubt your belief or your experience and I respect both. It’s an issue of philosphy I see many paths to the truth, in this case understanding and carrying on a conversation with their base, there are many tools to get there.

  44. Dude no need to pull the A-Lister stats to try to impress, number of videos or other assort crap (kidding , I live the Z list ;))

    I understand when I said right tool I didn’t say blogging, I agree reading and talking with blogs is another answer. Nothing wrong with it. Even if we don’t exactly agree (mostly we do in issue it’s minor quibble issues) you have talked more tonight than they probably have in the last month. I wouldn’t know I am not on the Facebook inlist.

    I don’t doubt your belief or your experience and I respect both. It’s an issue of philosphy I see many paths to the truth, in this case understanding and carrying on a conversation with their base, there are many tools to get there.

  45. I completely disagree with you on this one Robert. Usually, I find what you have to say to be in line with my beliefs, but I just can’t take any more of the Facebook bashing. Here is what I have to say –

    #1- People hate change. Almost everybody is afraid of change; just look at how long it takes for people to fully adapt to new technologies (RSS feeds :p)

    #2- People will get over it. Just like when people were freaking out about Google changing some of their AdSense algorithms a few months ago, the same thing is going to happen here. A huge spike in blog stories, a plethora of complaints and hate mail, but in the end this won’t even be a blip on Facebook’s radar screen.

    #3- Facebook doesn’t need video right now. As much as you don’t want to admit it, people would much rather skim through a bunch of text than have to sit in front of their computer for five minutes to synthesize the same amount of data. Sure, their blogs are very conservative; but really, who cares ? They have the best social networking site out there by miles and miles and miles. Nothing else can even come close. It’s like Google blogging conservatively; the masses don’t care, the masses just care about the product and how it can perform for them.

    In the end, I believe Facebook will become the most dominate social networking site in the world. It’s headed that way right now, and I don’t think this stupid little mini-feed fiasco is going to hurt them. At all.

    Hope to hear your thoughts, thanks !!!

  46. I completely disagree with you on this one Robert. Usually, I find what you have to say to be in line with my beliefs, but I just can’t take any more of the Facebook bashing. Here is what I have to say –

    #1- People hate change. Almost everybody is afraid of change; just look at how long it takes for people to fully adapt to new technologies (RSS feeds :p)

    #2- People will get over it. Just like when people were freaking out about Google changing some of their AdSense algorithms a few months ago, the same thing is going to happen here. A huge spike in blog stories, a plethora of complaints and hate mail, but in the end this won’t even be a blip on Facebook’s radar screen.

    #3- Facebook doesn’t need video right now. As much as you don’t want to admit it, people would much rather skim through a bunch of text than have to sit in front of their computer for five minutes to synthesize the same amount of data. Sure, their blogs are very conservative; but really, who cares ? They have the best social networking site out there by miles and miles and miles. Nothing else can even come close. It’s like Google blogging conservatively; the masses don’t care, the masses just care about the product and how it can perform for them.

    In the end, I believe Facebook will become the most dominate social networking site in the world. It’s headed that way right now, and I don’t think this stupid little mini-feed fiasco is going to hurt them. At all.

    Hope to hear your thoughts, thanks !!!

  47. but in the end this won’t even be a blip on Facebook’s radar screen.

    Agreed. In the long-run, (to quote Scoble) it won’t have any impact whatsoever on the price of tea in China. It’s just another not-so-smart flash mob, another MeetUp mobilization, another viral marketing thrust, another Emergent Democracy, another Kryptonite lock take-down, another Dean for Pres and another ‘Snakes on a Plane’ redux — all this massive sound, fist and fury, amounting to nothing.

    The thing to keep in mind, Bloggers are like the ‘actors’, in MTV’s Real World, they need a constant drama input flow, drama for drama’s sake alone. After awhile, just humor them, pat them on the head and toss them some double-stuff Oreo cookies, as it’s onto the next new new thing…ADD on the RSS microwave.

    Ironically where the real success lies, in fact-checking and critical journalism, the Left Coastsy Techie Bloggers stake not that claim, as it trumps the political football playbook, and gives victory to the “other” team. Their team muddles around in ‘citizen journalism’, preaching the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ gospel.

    Ironic too, someone not apart of the community, not much knowing the issue at stake, of something that doesn’t much apply, yet soapboxing for all it be worth. Well, heck, that’s what blogs are for. Ranting and barking at the moon. ;)

    Still it is quite telling how much all these community creators, understand not the dynamics of community theory. Tech Utopian’s on a Valley hot dog stick, welcome to reality, hope you enjoy the view.

  48. but in the end this won’t even be a blip on Facebook’s radar screen.

    Agreed. In the long-run, (to quote Scoble) it won’t have any impact whatsoever on the price of tea in China. It’s just another not-so-smart flash mob, another MeetUp mobilization, another viral marketing thrust, another Emergent Democracy, another Kryptonite lock take-down, another Dean for Pres and another ‘Snakes on a Plane’ redux — all this massive sound, fist and fury, amounting to nothing.

    The thing to keep in mind, Bloggers are like the ‘actors’, in MTV’s Real World, they need a constant drama input flow, drama for drama’s sake alone. After awhile, just humor them, pat them on the head and toss them some double-stuff Oreo cookies, as it’s onto the next new new thing…ADD on the RSS microwave.

    Ironically where the real success lies, in fact-checking and critical journalism, the Left Coastsy Techie Bloggers stake not that claim, as it trumps the political football playbook, and gives victory to the “other” team. Their team muddles around in ‘citizen journalism’, preaching the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ gospel.

    Ironic too, someone not apart of the community, not much knowing the issue at stake, of something that doesn’t much apply, yet soapboxing for all it be worth. Well, heck, that’s what blogs are for. Ranting and barking at the moon. ;)

    Still it is quite telling how much all these community creators, understand not the dynamics of community theory. Tech Utopian’s on a Valley hot dog stick, welcome to reality, hope you enjoy the view.

  49. Couldn’t it be argued that the cause of the problem was added granularity that exposed the users’ unwillingness to deal with such technicalities as their privacy settings? Your default argument is a better one I think.

    Incidentally, can you back up your claim that videos get more links than text – some videos might but I’d be interested in any evidence that all videos do.

  50. Couldn’t it be argued that the cause of the problem was added granularity that exposed the users’ unwillingness to deal with such technicalities as their privacy settings? Your default argument is a better one I think.

    Incidentally, can you back up your claim that videos get more links than text – some videos might but I’d be interested in any evidence that all videos do.

  51. Would have been much easier to fix had Zuckerberg not told his users that he’s smart and they are dumb. Video is a nice answer in this case, but only if Zuckerberg comes off less arrogant – may be better to have someone else do it.

    Had this been a feature that FB let users opt in to or tested it only with selected colleges others would be dying to use the service. FB originally spread by letting only a select group use the product. That group loved it, and as soon as other schools were able to use it they loved it without question (even though it was just as creepy then). They did the same thing with mobile and probably some other features. The college market wants what they can’t have (okay most markets work that way – but college and high school especially) FB used to understand that, not sure why they would change a strategy that was working so well.

  52. Would have been much easier to fix had Zuckerberg not told his users that he’s smart and they are dumb. Video is a nice answer in this case, but only if Zuckerberg comes off less arrogant – may be better to have someone else do it.

    Had this been a feature that FB let users opt in to or tested it only with selected colleges others would be dying to use the service. FB originally spread by letting only a select group use the product. That group loved it, and as soon as other schools were able to use it they loved it without question (even though it was just as creepy then). They did the same thing with mobile and probably some other features. The college market wants what they can’t have (okay most markets work that way – but college and high school especially) FB used to understand that, not sure why they would change a strategy that was working so well.

  53. Interesting…just last night, I discovered a different social networking site that I had never heard of but it appears to be answering your call of using video and music to communicate.

    It was called imeem (www.imeem.com) and dynamically showed music and more.

    However, I do think the idea about Feeds is very cool – although it should certainly be opt-in, not opt-out.

  54. Interesting…just last night, I discovered a different social networking site that I had never heard of but it appears to be answering your call of using video and music to communicate.

    It was called imeem (www.imeem.com) and dynamically showed music and more.

    However, I do think the idea about Feeds is very cool – although it should certainly be opt-in, not opt-out.

  55. I’m a college who wandered onto this blog. Its 100% people upset about everyone knowing every little detail of their life. You have no secrets, people know whos wall you left comments on, the minute you broke up or added a friend. People don’t want people stalking their every action.

    As was already mentioned. Users want to be able to turn it off. Thats it. Thats the first thing my friends and I did, we search for a way to be excluded from it. Went to “My Privacy” page, “My Account” page and finally found a way to delete the mini-feed. but the main feed just says to much.

    Once again, users want control returned to them. End of story, we don’t care about hearing from someone – don’t care about video – we just want it fixed yesterday.

  56. I’m a college who wandered onto this blog. Its 100% people upset about everyone knowing every little detail of their life. You have no secrets, people know whos wall you left comments on, the minute you broke up or added a friend. People don’t want people stalking their every action.

    As was already mentioned. Users want to be able to turn it off. Thats it. Thats the first thing my friends and I did, we search for a way to be excluded from it. Went to “My Privacy” page, “My Account” page and finally found a way to delete the mini-feed. but the main feed just says to much.

    Once again, users want control returned to them. End of story, we don’t care about hearing from someone – don’t care about video – we just want it fixed yesterday.

  57. When in doubt… it’s the internet… and only your friends and their friends can see it…. It’s not like they can just click on all your friends and read what you have posted and where. It makes it a bit easier, but you can just click the “x”… and it will never appear again. People complain about change way too often. If you disagree with me… again… this is the INTERNET… and you are concerned about your PRIVACY? Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want everyone to read in the world, because nothing is secure.

  58. When in doubt… it’s the internet… and only your friends and their friends can see it…. It’s not like they can just click on all your friends and read what you have posted and where. It makes it a bit easier, but you can just click the “x”… and it will never appear again. People complain about change way too often. If you disagree with me… again… this is the INTERNET… and you are concerned about your PRIVACY? Don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want everyone to read in the world, because nothing is secure.

  59. I don’t know about you but I’ve had it with Facebook and My Space. I guess I have outgrown those kiddy sites. I found a professional site where I can post my college and work skills and keep in contact with my friends. It has paid off for me. You might want to check it out, http://www.nthebook.com.

    Liz

  60. Yes we know that all the information was already available, however I found these quotes quote fitting

    “There is a difference between publicly avaible and publicly announced”

    “I know people can see through my window, but that doesn’t mean I go handing out telescopes”

    Yes the news feed has its advantages (X just uploaded more photos/added a note/changed his status), however it goes to far (X and Y are now friends, X left this group, X and Y broke up). And of course there is no control on what appears on other people’s news feeds.

    One thing I think most people seem to misunderstand is that they assume everyone’s friends on facebook are all really close. They are not, I have friends I catch up with once a year because I went to school with them – I see little point in telling these people what I do every minute on facebook and that I just posted on someone’s wall.

    Anyway, the protest group is now at 550000 people. (It is very close to overtaking a group that gives people 25 free iTunes songs everyweek and is advertised.)

  61. I don’t know about you but I’ve had it with Facebook and My Space. I guess I have outgrown those kiddy sites. I found a professional site where I can post my college and work skills and keep in contact with my friends. It has paid off for me. You might want to check it out, http://www.nthebook.com.

    Liz

  62. Yes we know that all the information was already available, however I found these quotes quote fitting

    “There is a difference between publicly avaible and publicly announced”

    “I know people can see through my window, but that doesn’t mean I go handing out telescopes”

    Yes the news feed has its advantages (X just uploaded more photos/added a note/changed his status), however it goes to far (X and Y are now friends, X left this group, X and Y broke up). And of course there is no control on what appears on other people’s news feeds.

    One thing I think most people seem to misunderstand is that they assume everyone’s friends on facebook are all really close. They are not, I have friends I catch up with once a year because I went to school with them – I see little point in telling these people what I do every minute on facebook and that I just posted on someone’s wall.

    Anyway, the protest group is now at 550000 people. (It is very close to overtaking a group that gives people 25 free iTunes songs everyweek and is advertised.)

  63. Quick quiz for you web 2.0 folk

    What’s worse:
    1. Having no vendor lock in, and having all your users defect en masse.
    OR
    2. Having vendor lock in so everybody stays on, but remains hopping mad?

    For examples of #2, please refer to the daily comments of microsoft haters in this blog who still use windows. Note that people love to have something to complain about. Hope it’s not your brand.

    -r.

  64. Quick quiz for you web 2.0 folk

    What’s worse:
    1. Having no vendor lock in, and having all your users defect en masse.
    OR
    2. Having vendor lock in so everybody stays on, but remains hopping mad?

    For examples of #2, please refer to the daily comments of microsoft haters in this blog who still use windows. Note that people love to have something to complain about. Hope it’s not your brand.

    -r.

  65. what’s funny about this to me is that i’ve been on facebook for a very long time now, but i only logged in every couple of months. since they put in these features i’ve been checking several times a day. i think the features are great, and, personally, i think it made a previously fairly dull site finally interesting. i have even seen people using this new feature in unique ways to demonstrate whatever is going on with them at the time such as adding and taking away some interest so that the changes that show up in the news feed show that this is something about which they are thinking a lot.

  66. what’s funny about this to me is that i’ve been on facebook for a very long time now, but i only logged in every couple of months. since they put in these features i’ve been checking several times a day. i think the features are great, and, personally, i think it made a previously fairly dull site finally interesting. i have even seen people using this new feature in unique ways to demonstrate whatever is going on with them at the time such as adding and taking away some interest so that the changes that show up in the news feed show that this is something about which they are thinking a lot.

  67. What should Facebook do? Keep to the simple, clean layout and features that made it appealing in the first place! There are plenty of other blogging, video, customizable, CLUTTERED friend sites out there. If Facebook goes to video, it will tank.

  68. What should Facebook do? Keep to the simple, clean layout and features that made it appealing in the first place! There are plenty of other blogging, video, customizable, CLUTTERED friend sites out there. If Facebook goes to video, it will tank.

  69. “If that’s the case, then the Facebook “revolt” would seem to be led by (and comprised of) idiots”

    No, we are not idiots. Here is a useful analogy:

    Before, facebook was like a big online party for students. You would communicate openly with people, and somewhat similar to real life, *acquaintances* might pause and listen in to what you are saying. This feels relatively normal.

    But if the host of the party suddenly puts everybody’s conversations on loudspeaker ‘for everybody’s benefit’, and announces through a megaphone that ‘so-and-so has just split up with her boyfriend’, that is a DISTINCTLY different issue.

    Before, we just displayed certain information on our pages, but changes to that information were discrete and would only be noticed by the observant minority. However, on Monday night, facebook began broadcasting recent profile changes to everybody’s acquaintances *without warning or consent from any of the users*.

    This is exactly the same as the party scenario. It is rude, intrusive behaviour from the host, and of course users are angry! It makes so-called ‘social networking’ distinctly anti-social.

    I don’t understand why people fail to comprehend the outcry against this change.

    However, those who point out that it teaches us a valuable lesson about online privacy have a point, and rest assured I am learning that lesson. Since the feed was introduced I have considerably altered my privacy settings for the site, and I will continue to be more careful, even if settings change back to exactly the way they were before (which I hope they do! Facebook was fun to use without the bells and whistles).

  70. “If that’s the case, then the Facebook “revolt” would seem to be led by (and comprised of) idiots”

    No, we are not idiots. Here is a useful analogy:

    Before, facebook was like a big online party for students. You would communicate openly with people, and somewhat similar to real life, *acquaintances* might pause and listen in to what you are saying. This feels relatively normal.

    But if the host of the party suddenly puts everybody’s conversations on loudspeaker ‘for everybody’s benefit’, and announces through a megaphone that ‘so-and-so has just split up with her boyfriend’, that is a DISTINCTLY different issue.

    Before, we just displayed certain information on our pages, but changes to that information were discrete and would only be noticed by the observant minority. However, on Monday night, facebook began broadcasting recent profile changes to everybody’s acquaintances *without warning or consent from any of the users*.

    This is exactly the same as the party scenario. It is rude, intrusive behaviour from the host, and of course users are angry! It makes so-called ‘social networking’ distinctly anti-social.

    I don’t understand why people fail to comprehend the outcry against this change.

    However, those who point out that it teaches us a valuable lesson about online privacy have a point, and rest assured I am learning that lesson. Since the feed was introduced I have considerably altered my privacy settings for the site, and I will continue to be more careful, even if settings change back to exactly the way they were before (which I hope they do! Facebook was fun to use without the bells and whistles).

  71. Clinked back in via a friend to see what the fuss all about.

    It’s privacy invading sure, but it makes for a fun romp, beehive of activity, town square of never ending conversations, and I think that’s what they were shooting for, an eternal conversation over just profile pages. It’s already online-party Stalkerbook even without the feature…I mean lets be honest, it’s all college-era hormonal fueled.

    Make it optional, yet default on, feature is still there for the dynamics of the site (for those that like it), but people have a choice to turn it off. Opt out. Sorta like ‘invisible’ per IM clients.

    Simple really.

  72. Clinked back in via a friend to see what the fuss all about.

    It’s privacy invading sure, but it makes for a fun romp, beehive of activity, town square of never ending conversations, and I think that’s what they were shooting for, an eternal conversation over just profile pages. It’s already online-party Stalkerbook even without the feature…I mean lets be honest, it’s all college-era hormonal fueled.

    Make it optional, yet default on, feature is still there for the dynamics of the site (for those that like it), but people have a choice to turn it off. Opt out. Sorta like ‘invisible’ per IM clients.

    Simple really.

  73. As a geek, a recent grad, and a frequent Facebooker, I’m a fan of the feed feature. It doesn’t violate anyone’s privacy because nobody who couldn’t see your information before can see it now. That part is absolutely true and has been confirmed by Zuckerberg.

    The problem with the feed is how it was foisted upon the Facebook community with no warning, no public beta, and no community involvement in its development. It was an arbitrary, unilateral decision whose timing–as Janet Johnson so astutely observed–couldn’t have been worse.

    Truth be told, I’ve been pestering the Facebook team to start integrating news feeds for about six months now, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re listening. But they should start by adding a news feed to their blog and reinstating comments (which they shut off at the precise moment they launched the feed).

    Robert: You’re dead on with the granularity observation. I’d really like it if I could keep certain information, like when I leave notes for people and when I change my profile out of the feed. I would love to see it be fully customizable with an opt-out feature for people who are concerned about their privacy.

  74. As a geek, a recent grad, and a frequent Facebooker, I’m a fan of the feed feature. It doesn’t violate anyone’s privacy because nobody who couldn’t see your information before can see it now. That part is absolutely true and has been confirmed by Zuckerberg.

    The problem with the feed is how it was foisted upon the Facebook community with no warning, no public beta, and no community involvement in its development. It was an arbitrary, unilateral decision whose timing–as Janet Johnson so astutely observed–couldn’t have been worse.

    Truth be told, I’ve been pestering the Facebook team to start integrating news feeds for about six months now, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re listening. But they should start by adding a news feed to their blog and reinstating comments (which they shut off at the precise moment they launched the feed).

    Robert: You’re dead on with the granularity observation. I’d really like it if I could keep certain information, like when I leave notes for people and when I change my profile out of the feed. I would love to see it be fully customizable with an opt-out feature for people who are concerned about their privacy.

  75. To me, the feed just looks inconvenient, large, and bulky. I’ve also noticed the rearranging of profile sections, which now make the then-sleek profiles look unwieldy and messy.

    I have been on Facebook for the last year or so (recent college grad), and the one thing that drew me to the site over Myspace and Friendster (two other networking sites I am a part of) was its simplicity. With the advent of their massive newsfeed — they seem to have lost sight of what appeared to be their original purpose (see my post).

    I love newsfeeds. I think in general, they are a great idea. I think the Facebook people just need a better lesson on how to execute it.

    And while video may be a decent idea — it’s something the site doesn’t need right now. I also agree with them engaging bloggers, I certainly blog about them.

  76. To me, the feed just looks inconvenient, large, and bulky. I’ve also noticed the rearranging of profile sections, which now make the then-sleek profiles look unwieldy and messy.

    I have been on Facebook for the last year or so (recent college grad), and the one thing that drew me to the site over Myspace and Friendster (two other networking sites I am a part of) was its simplicity. With the advent of their massive newsfeed — they seem to have lost sight of what appeared to be their original purpose (see my post).

    I love newsfeeds. I think in general, they are a great idea. I think the Facebook people just need a better lesson on how to execute it.

    And while video may be a decent idea — it’s something the site doesn’t need right now. I also agree with them engaging bloggers, I certainly blog about them.

  77. Facebook don’t need a four point videoblogging plan, they just need to ditch the unpopular new features..

    In terms of getting information out to people in an accessible way, the simplicity of plain text is definitely the way forward – something facebook has been doing right for a long time.

    I don’t want to see moving images and audio of the facebook development team reading a statement. Total hassle, and the video aspect would add nothing. However, I’d be very interested to read their statement.

    Facebook has over 8 million users to deal with. You can’t seriously expect them to “engage with bloggers” by writing comments on websites which have no connection to their own and are mainly written by crazy people. The company has better things to do with its time

  78. Facebook don’t need a four point videoblogging plan, they just need to ditch the unpopular new features..

    In terms of getting information out to people in an accessible way, the simplicity of plain text is definitely the way forward – something facebook has been doing right for a long time.

    I don’t want to see moving images and audio of the facebook development team reading a statement. Total hassle, and the video aspect would add nothing. However, I’d be very interested to read their statement.

    Facebook has over 8 million users to deal with. You can’t seriously expect them to “engage with bloggers” by writing comments on websites which have no connection to their own and are mainly written by crazy people. The company has better things to do with its time

  79. The main reason for the revolt is that it was entirely too much, too soon. I mean people were still getting used to the “My Notes” section being added and I think the ability to tag people to notes is outrageous.

    News Feed is not necessary and the mini feed, can I say OMG. I do not need everyone of my friends being able to see my activity on the FB going all the way back to 2 days. Quite frankly,I think I could so without the FB. It would do wonders for the GPA.

  80. The main reason for the revolt is that it was entirely too much, too soon. I mean people were still getting used to the “My Notes” section being added and I think the ability to tag people to notes is outrageous.

    News Feed is not necessary and the mini feed, can I say OMG. I do not need everyone of my friends being able to see my activity on the FB going all the way back to 2 days. Quite frankly,I think I could so without the FB. It would do wonders for the GPA.

  81. I don’t use facebook, or any similar service, but this strikes me as an amazingly dumb thing for a company to do. Here’s what they should have done :
    1. implement the new system but with it off by default
    2. provide an option *as you do anything* to ask for it to be published on the new feed system
    3. provide a global option for the user to say “yeah, just feed everything” or “feed nothing unless I say so”
    4. give users a set of options on what they want to see about their friends (if anything)

    The you have everyone gets access to the new features, nobody is forced to use them, and everybody gets what they want.

  82. I don’t use facebook, or any similar service, but this strikes me as an amazingly dumb thing for a company to do. Here’s what they should have done :
    1. implement the new system but with it off by default
    2. provide an option *as you do anything* to ask for it to be published on the new feed system
    3. provide a global option for the user to say “yeah, just feed everything” or “feed nothing unless I say so”
    4. give users a set of options on what they want to see about their friends (if anything)

    The you have everyone gets access to the new features, nobody is forced to use them, and everybody gets what they want.

  83. Well, as a current college student and Facebooker (I’m on here instead of college life because I don’t start until next week), most of us students (not my opinion) like to reveal ourselves (and our actions) to others, but just not with a bullhorn that the feed does.

    Secondly, we [especially me] like the fact that the design of it is a lot more clean than myspace and the ilk.
    Granted, that might seem a bit paradoxical to the older crowd that’s reading this (who assume we want everything possibly personalized and customized).
    But there’s a difference. We don’t want the gawky colors, flash items, and music coming through when we want to view others profiles.
    Especially, to make that big change, without testing it all to users, seems a bit pompous (yes, we’d like to be listened to) on Facebook’s part.

    Lastly, my counterpoint to the argument that others have ‘the information was already available to your friends’ is similar to the scenario, that, every time you see that person (or log onto facebook and see the feed on the page when you log onto facebook), they say “Hey, I broke up my boy/girlfriend.”
    Before the news feed, you had to check out their profile (which you have access to view because you friended them) similar to if your friend doesn’t mention any news, but you specifically ask them “how is that relationship going? ”

    Not the best analogy, but something worth thinking about.

    Also, I think some of it is from the fact that most of us are in denial of how much time we, college students, spend on facebook and how much time and effort we put into cultivating our online identities and reading others.

    To RobertD,
    Even in this situation, I don’t think we, college students, would want to sit around and watch an apology of Mark Zuckerberg.
    The best he could do to salvage the situation is make a text apology on the log-in page and allow users to walk through and configure the feed and allow the option to completely abolish on their log-in and profile page.

  84. Well, as a current college student and Facebooker (I’m on here instead of college life because I don’t start until next week), most of us students (not my opinion) like to reveal ourselves (and our actions) to others, but just not with a bullhorn that the feed does.

    Secondly, we [especially me] like the fact that the design of it is a lot more clean than myspace and the ilk.
    Granted, that might seem a bit paradoxical to the older crowd that’s reading this (who assume we want everything possibly personalized and customized).
    But there’s a difference. We don’t want the gawky colors, flash items, and music coming through when we want to view others profiles.
    Especially, to make that big change, without testing it all to users, seems a bit pompous (yes, we’d like to be listened to) on Facebook’s part.

    Lastly, my counterpoint to the argument that others have ‘the information was already available to your friends’ is similar to the scenario, that, every time you see that person (or log onto facebook and see the feed on the page when you log onto facebook), they say “Hey, I broke up my boy/girlfriend.”
    Before the news feed, you had to check out their profile (which you have access to view because you friended them) similar to if your friend doesn’t mention any news, but you specifically ask them “how is that relationship going? ”

    Not the best analogy, but something worth thinking about.

    Also, I think some of it is from the fact that most of us are in denial of how much time we, college students, spend on facebook and how much time and effort we put into cultivating our online identities and reading others.

    To RobertD,
    Even in this situation, I don’t think we, college students, would want to sit around and watch an apology of Mark Zuckerberg.
    The best he could do to salvage the situation is make a text apology on the log-in page and allow users to walk through and configure the feed and allow the option to completely abolish on their log-in and profile page.

  85. I’m 68 years old, and the technological changes that have come about through my lifetime are mind-boggling. Inherently, such advances carry significant societal challenges and crucial issues.

    But the majestic human being, created just a bit lower than the angels, is capable of facing such challenges, and will effect acceptable solution.

    Blessings to us all.

    Shirley Buxton
    http://www.writenow.wordpress.com

  86. I’m 68 years old, and the technological changes that have come about through my lifetime are mind-boggling. Inherently, such advances carry significant societal challenges and crucial issues.

    But the majestic human being, created just a bit lower than the angels, is capable of facing such challenges, and will effect acceptable solution.

    Blessings to us all.

    Shirley Buxton
    http://www.writenow.wordpress.com

  87. [...] Robert Scoble has a longer, more thoroughly linked post on this subject, with several good suggestions for the Facebook team.  I really like part of his first point: ‘basically, I’d recommend giving them [the users] what they want. The feedback is so overwhelming that you need to turn off the new features by default and add more granularity to the tracking behavior.‘  Or better yet, allow people to personalize their news feeds.  Who actually cares if Brett Bretterson added that one girl from the Teen Girl Squad as a friend?   [...]

  88. Ok ok – I give in – could someone actualy say what the heck face book is please ?? I nice succinct description would be very useful for the over 30′s in the audience….

  89. Ok ok – I give in – could someone actualy say what the heck face book is please ?? I nice succinct description would be very useful for the over 30′s in the audience….

  90. I woke up this morning to find the feed section replaced with a message from Mark Zuckerberg talking about how they made a big mistake and spent the past two days coding and yadda yadda… anyway, users now have control (in the privacy settings) over which info (if any) is displayed in the feed.

  91. I woke up this morning to find the feed section replaced with a message from Mark Zuckerberg talking about how they made a big mistake and spent the past two days coding and yadda yadda… anyway, users now have control (in the privacy settings) over which info (if any) is displayed in the feed.

  92. [...] I read and heard about all this “controversy” without looking at it myself until yesterday. It went up on a Tuesday, which is when many new things come out, like new DVDs. Except unlike freshly minted special-feature packing DVDs, this was terrible. Everyone from the A-list bloggers (see: Scoblelizer, TechCrunch) to the many hundreds upon hundreds of thousands (possibly soon ‘millions’) of facebook users who protested offered at least some half-decent advice, perhaps only half of which Mark and his band of merry men are actually taking into consideration. [...]