So… Facebook changed everything again. It was late at night when I first noticed. This may have been about when everything first hit. When the horror started to take hold, I raced to the window and stared into the darkness, amazed that the moon was not blood red, stars were still hanging firmly in their places, and generally nothing in the city was on fire. Surprisingly there was no rioting going on around the apartment swimming pool or violent looting going on at the Starbucks down the street (because I’d hit that place first, whole bean coffee gets expensive).
Just kidding — about the apocalypse, not about the coffee. Like the recent Netflix/Qwikster (I still gag a little bit when I say the Q-word) debacle, another web-based standard that we all heavily rely on is causing trouble for our well-established life patterns. They are taking things away, giving us new things we don’t remember asking for, and generally wreaking havoc on our rituals and habits. What should we make of all of this?
I still haven’t been able to go throught the tutorial stuff yet (have you?), but it appears that the new Facebook has incorporated some powerful changes that people may really like in the long run. Facebook seems to be morphing further from simply a “Friends and Likes” format to an all-you-can-eat digital buffet that will allow you to connect up anything you want to your profile and share it with anyone you want. In an everything-at-your-fingertips iPad world, that’s not really a bad thing — it may even become a necessity.
Those who cry out in anguish “but simplicity!” have a point, but compare your first NES controller with your current XBox controller. We’ll all be fine. People have proven to be pretty good at adding to their prior technological prowess quickly, and we tend to like it in the end. The same will prove true with “New Facebook”.
So why all the incessant complaining? More lessons in human nature, I guess. The “little quirks” of brokenness: pettiness, neediness, demanding-ness, complaining-ness. Along with snarkiness, these “little sins” mark much of our digital experience. As we have consistently seen, the ‘net has brought out our passive-aggressive selfishness, a false sense of “assertiveness” that we would never indulge in face to face, and a communal record of complaint that would make even Moses and the wandering Israelites sigh and shake their heads.
I include myself squarely in the middle of the offenders, with hands held high. Taking away face to face interaction and offering an immediate outlet for venting my every frustration has affected my ability to empathize, which in turn has affected my view of loving others. My all-time favorite xkcd comic illustrates perfectly this problem as I see it in myself.
Anyways… enjoy new Facebook. Let it wash over you, let it take hold. Stop complaining. There’s always next year.