Facebook rolled (some say “steamrolled”) out major platform changes this week, in case you haven’t noticed! Those of us in the industry knew they were coming, although most of us didn’t know exactly what all the changes would be.
Facebook has the right to make changes on their platform. Some industry folks see all the new features as being Facebook’s direct reaction to the threat of Google+. Some see the changes (as I do) as not only a reaction to the features that make Google+ so easy to use, but also Facebook’s need and desire to keep users on the site for the majority of their Internet usage, therefore reducing the need for them to leave to search for music, to buy products, to chat with friends, to see real-time news, and more.
When I work with clients I often use this analogy to illustrate how users feel about Facebook: Facebook is a house. People like to hang out in their house with their family and friends. The more they can do without having to leave their “house” the more comfortable they feel.
Where the Problem Lies
Imagine you are renting the house (basically users are “renting” space on Facebook’s platform, albeit for free) and while you are at work, your landlord comes into the house, moves most of your stuff around, hides other stuff, and piles a lot of new stuff that you never asked for in places you don’t expect. The landlord leaves you a note saying, “I think you will like the house better this way”.
How would you feel? Invaded? Disrespected? Really Angry?
That’s how many Facebook users feel right now. If you check the Twitter hashtag #newfacebook you’ll see thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of complaints and in many cases, anger.
I believe that Facebook users will get used to the new changes, and most will find them really useful, as I do. The new features make Facebook better for users and better it is for markers.
The way in which Facebook changes were made is the reason that users are angry. Anger is not what any business wants their customers (or tenants) to feel.