In today’s installment of Tech Tuesday and I’m going to do my best to not complain about the latest Facebook changes that were foisted upon my profile. Reserving judgement until I’ve had further opportunity to really delve into all of the assets Facebook is supposedly making available in the coming days and weeks. So far, my initial impression is dislike, as it is more difficult to find out the useful information about what my core group of friends are doing because the page doesn’t refresh often enough now that the second by second updates are relegated to the right hand side new ticker. Then again, that news ticker is becoming irrelevant quickly too because of the shear amount of stuff it’s becoming populated with!
At the beginning the news feed was fine on the right, because it was populated by what my friends individually were choosing to populate it with. This was similar enough to what the old wall was like that it was easy to follow these call outs.
Then yahoo news appeared and as my circle of yahoo friends linked their reading to Facebook. Next thing I knew a large percentage of stories in the feed were dominated by “I read” posts which the auto-population quickly over took the right hand feed. Regardless of if they completed the read or not, if it was relevant to them or not, if it was useful to their network or not, it was not there. I was curious, but I could hardly keep up with what they were supposedly reading and was losing focus on their useful actions to my life. There was a time when I used to trust most of my network’s reading but now it was beginning to become irrelevant as their every move became less applicable.
Then came the influx of music in this right hand news feed. At first it was subtle but the timing with the US deal with Spotify deal and the number of people I knew yet again ahead of the social curve and all of a sudden my feed was inundated by Spotify listening notes. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always appreciated what my network listens to, after all, I have over 15 years of music industry experience and they not only help set trends they held define my current listening. But when their personal listening notations change every 1.5 minutes and with hundreds of people in my network seeing their listening pass that quickly and indescriminately deteriorates their opinions. If people’s reading habits were quickly becoming useless their even less focused listening being broadcast to the world was multiple times more annoying.
Finally, recently came the first notes of what people in my network are watching. As if tracking their every move via foursquare checkins and the occasional FB notification wasn’t enough and reading about their every page view and listening in on their headphones wasn’t enough now I was getting real time channel flipping too.
When is this going to end?
I’m only partially blaming my friends. The majority probably don’t realize they are reboadcasting everything they are to me. The few who do may think they are furthering their careers or helping establish unique networking ties because of our common industries. But the reality is, if I weren’t me and I saw my feed I’d be overwhelmed and somewhat distraught. Actually, that’s not far from where I am now. chances are, they don’t even know how much of their lives are being pre-populated into that feed as there is and how much I am losing respect for them because they aren’t editorializing anymore (as that’s a big reason why we were friends, I respected their “opinion” not their “every move”)
Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate the suggestions on what to listen to as that’s one of the most common foundations in my network – and I adore the suggestions on what to read in the news as that’s another bond between my friends – and I even enjoy the food suggestions on the checkins as it gives me new culinary delights to experiment with.
In the movie Hi Fidelity, it’s noted “it’s not what you’re like it’s what you like…”
The difference is the curriation.
In the past, the people I most respected the musical opinion on were select in their sharing with me and within their network, telling us what was the most important based on our shared mindset. I lose that when their listening becomes washed upon the ocean of possibility and they no longer can provide me with the unique endorsement of all their sporadic listening. If they chose to post their listening I knew it must be important and because there were fewer updates it stood out. If they chose to send it to me it must hold an extra significance. Lost in the new feed is this intimacy as every listen, no matter how insignificant is now broadcast and then immediately lost to the next one.
The same with news posts in the past. Those that made it to being shared were select and special. Sure, everyone wants to “be the first” to break someone’s death or social demise, but apart from that it was the great ‘unique to my circle of friends’ news that made me care about FB status. I could find out quicker about new mobile aps or industry news, sports or even mundane pop culture as it pertained to my circle of friends perception via FB than even the best curriation via Yahoo, WordPress or other network aggregation (apart from ferretting it out on twitter…which is never easy either, for, in part the reasons I’m complaining about here, for example).
Now, I’ve heard rumor for months via Mashable and All things Digital and the like that the “like” button is going to metamorphosis into this wonderful, definable ideal that allows people to put “context” on their likes, perhaps as so much as to say “(I like) ‘reading’ or ‘listen’ or ‘watching’ or ‘eating’ or (xx – insert action here – xx)”
Sure, someone is going to immediately subjugate it, asuming it is left unabated as is typical for a FB roll out, to be I’m reading braille on her goose bumps with her hard nipples as the exclamation marks or I’m watching someone undress or eating someone’s (private) places or listening or some orgasm and bring the porn world to the unintentional forefront of FB for a brief and fleeting moment yet again.
However, the reality is, without something that differentiates the unbranded, automated action that occurs and allows individual curriation at the post level as it happens FB will become useless to the average user. After all, I don’t want to go through my family, girl(boy)friend, best friend(s), music collection, library, or refrigerator digitally any moreso than I want to daily having to live with any of them… now, if that’s the case, do I really want some distance-friend, school-friend, friend-of-a-friend, other family member, teacher, boss, acquaintance or otherwise to provide me with the intimately friendly on a second-by-second lead?
Sure, I CAN go back through my entire ‘friends’ list and reconfigure the entire thing to adopt only certain feeds and try to curriate all their posts based on my own expectation, but that’s me censoring them for myself rather than relying on what they always did best which was presenting themselves to me, I trusted them to tell me who they where and allowed them to show that to me in a way that ways always useful to me.
Maybe it’s my old-skool idea of ‘know your audience’ but somehow the old version of FB (and previosous social nets) always seemed know know its audience better by letting the owner of the page present the info they “intended” (even when it was hidden in privacy controls) to be seen rather than vice versa (anything that can be shown will be), as it appears to ascribe to the idea that the page owner knows best what they wish to display (rather than the page provider, in this case FB is the provider). Right now it appears the machines have taken over in a very Orwell-Huxley sort of way, only where we appear in control while they prescribe the end still.
Would you voluntarily allow everyone to see everything about you? To know you listen to Enslaved and Britney, watched Dexter and Jersey Shore, read TMZ and PCMag, & ate McDonalds and at Madison Park and see every move inbetween? does that make you diverse or indecisive? does it show experience or excessive expansion?