Fri 26 Feb 2010
I’ve just never gotten along with Facebook.
The start of the rocky relationship began 3 months ago, when I was pushed into creating an account just because everybody else was doing it, and because everybody else thought it would be a good way to showcase my T-shirts.
Right from the start, Facebook decided that its UI didn’t want to work the same as other website’s UIs. It presented ridiculous choices for the type of my “fan page”. Is it an “online store”? “Products”? Can’t I just enter in “T-shirts”? It didn’t even call them “fan pages”, even though they have a button that says “become a fan”, and they term their members “fans”. It called it “create a page for my business”.
I fought Facebook and eventually managed to create my personal page and fan page. Except I couldn’t find them. You’d think there’d be a list of all the pages I’ve created, so I could click on which one I wanted to post on. Except I couldn’t find that anywhere. I couldn’t even find anything that said “pages”. I went searching for a little “help” link. I eventually found it, but Facebook’s lackluster help section didn’t help me at all.
So I resorted to Google. It said that I should have a little “f” icon on the little taskbar Facebook gave me. (The sheer ridiculousness of using a “taskbar” inside a browser on a website made me laugh and cry at the same time.) Except Facebook decided that I shouldn’t have a little “f” icon. So I gave up, and eventually “deactivated” my account in frustration. (Apparently Facebook is kind of like the Hotel California – you can’t leave, only “deactivate”.) I told Facebook their UI sucks as my reason for deactivating. They said they’d look into my complaint, but they never did.
About a week later I decided to see if I could have a better relationship with Facebook. So I reactivated my account. I eventually found I could access my pages by clicking on the little “Create an Ad” link. Oh, how intuitive – you want to get me to buy an ad before I can even do anything!
Then Facebook decided I needed to have an identity crisis. I didn’t know which identity (personal or business) I was posting as when I posted something on one of my pages. It didn’t make any sense – shouldn’t I be able to choose which identity to post as? Apparently Facebook didn’t want to let me!
All the while, I was constantly encountering bugs and inconsistent UI behavior. Sometimes something would work, and sometimes it wouldn’t. Deleting my profile picture didn’t mean “delete” – it just meant it got saved in an album somewhere else, and I had to go delete them there. To “like” something, sometimes I had to hit the button twice. Sometimes it wouldn’t upload pictures properly. Sometimes it would just crash. It was also slow. It reminded me of Windows 95 running on a 486 with 4 megabytes of RAM.
Eventually, Facebook crashed big time. It locked up my browser tab, and I couldn’t log out. I closed the Facebook tab, and I couldn’t log back in again. I waited awhile, and it let me log in, but it gave me a “page not found” error. What the… ? All my work setting up this thing was lost for nothing!
I heard reports of pages disappearing and reappearing before, so I Googled the problem. I figured out you might be able to get it to work by using https:// instead of http:// in the URL. So I did, and it worked. However, this meant that for every internal Facebook link I clicked on, I had to copy and paste the URL, and put that little “s” in, because Facebook links are http://. Annoying. Can’t they code this thing right? Why would anyone want to use Facebook if it didn’t work half the time?
Still, I continued to use it, because I thought I could make it work. Shortly afterward, Facebook decided that it wanted to make my personal posts more
I eventually decided to fix my privacy settings in Facebook’s labyrinthine inner workings, and continued using it despite that. Then Facebook decided that it didn’t look good enough, so it changed the way it looked. Except the new look, though different, wasn’t any better. It was still hard to find things, still confusing to use, still lacking rhyme or reason to its UI.
And then there were the things people posted. I wasn’t interested in the minute details of everyone’s life. I wasn’t interested in gossip. It bored me real fast. It felt so juvenile, like high school all over again. Sure, it’s nice to know what people are up to, but you don’t have to give me every single detail! I was just drowning in all the noise. There was barely any signal, just noise. It made it hard to reply to other people’s posts, and hard to get replies on my own, defeating the purpose of “social networking”. I was spending too much time just trying to find the signal, all while trying to fight the site’s poor interface.
During my constant frustration, not to mention waste of time, I started thinking to myself, “Why am I using this thing?” “Why am I wasting my time on this site?” I asked myself that, and I reminded myself that I started using Facebook “because everybody else wanted me to use it”. I never liked doing things just because they’re “cool”. I like doing things because I like doing things.
So I decided I needed to de-friend Facebook. I logged out one last time a few days ago. I’ll see if I feel like returning in a month or so. Sure, it’s cool to be friends with the cool kid, but the relationship is shallow and it only makes you feel bad in the end. I’d rather be friends with somebody whose company I truly enjoy – wouldn’t you? It’s interesting what comes up as the first result in Google if you do a search for “why I quit”. It’s not smoking, it’s not dope, it’s… well, do it and find out!
Oh, and the fact that yesterday, Facebook was granted a patent for the news feed doesn’t make me like Facebook either. We’ve had “news feeds” since Lincoln used telegraph office in the war department to keep track of the war effort. You can’t tell me the news feed is really anything new right now.
I don’t care if Facebook is cool or not. I wish another social network would come along and kill Facebook. I hate Facebook. There, I said it. That made me feel better.