Unless you’re in a cave someplace or have abandoned it for Google+, you’ve probably noticed that Facebook did an overhaul last night. I logged in this morning and while I’ll admit I’m not the brightest guy in the world, I was thoroughly confused. Many of the new features are clearly designed to compete with things found on Google+ and Twitter, such as circles. For those of you struggling to make sense of the new layout, Gizmodo did a nice job color-coding everything in a cheat sheet.
I’m a believer in continuous improvement. I’m not a believer in keeping up with the Joneses. Here’s why.
If the numbers one reads are right, Facebook has somewhere around 700,000,000 customers. If even 10% of them are feeling the way I am, that’s an awful lot of people they made unhappy in an effort to keep with some other services that aren’t used the same way. There’s a new thing called “subscribe” – how is that different from “liking” something? When I post, do I have to specify which of my new “smart lists” see it? If I make it “public,” it is really public and available to the world or just to all the folks I’ve friended? Can search engines read it? I believe that people are notified when I put them on lists with the name of the list – completely different from how Google+ handles additions to circles – what if I make a “complete idiots” list and put someone on it? And that’s just the tip of my issue iceberg.
If damn near everyone with a computer is using your service, maybe you’re doing something right? Sure, some very influential tech writers have said they’re quitting Facebook for Google+ because it has some great features, but they’re a loud minority (I barely use G+ any more). In trying to copy your competition, you can’t ruin the user experience for the silent majority (to use an old phrase). Maybe these features are better. Then do a better job explaining them and introduce them gradually. Dropping this bomb on a huge user base out of the blue isn’t the way to handle it.
You need to be YOU as a business. If you’ve been successful, learn from everyone but make it YOU. That’s why your customers are loyal.
What do you think of the changes? Am I nuts?