new vs. old facebook

There’s been all sorts of knee jerk whiny criticism leveled at the “new” facebook interface. At first, the new interface was a generally annoying, but I decided to dig a little deeper and figure out what exactly does and doesn’t work for me. The “new” layout, like any website layout, is pretty much a matter of personal taste; what ultimately matters to me is functionality.

The Good:
Notifications, Applications and Chat are all still one click away on the bottom Bookmark bar. The left Applications sidebar makes for less clicking; the Photos, Links, and Videos pages are a single click away and seem optimized for quick publishing, fixing my one big nit with the “old” Facebook; ie., previously to upload pics from the Home page, I’d have to go to Photos, then to My Photos, then to Edit Albums, then, blah blah, blah… Now, I just hit the Photos sidebar button, and I’m faced with an upload box.
The “old” way is still available: the Applications Bookmark Photos tab still returns the “old” Photos page. Filtering the newsfeed by friend groupings feels more intuitive now, although I doubt many people have gone through the hassle of setting up friend groups…
I like how almost anything can be Commented, Liked, or Shared.

The Bad:
The newsfeed. It sucks. The only line-item filtering option is now to hide/unhide all feeds by friend, whereas the “old” had options for seeing less/more/none/all of particular news story types from all/individual friends. Now you just get everything, all the time.
Your current “Status” is missing from the Home page. The “What’s On Your Mind” tag is vague; I understand that it’s an attempt to move away from a tweet-like status to a more general mini-blogging, but it’s not obvious. I liked when FB removed the compulsory “is” from the status line, but this last change is too random. Also, carriage-returns in this Share box actually return a line break, instead of submitting the field; I don’t generally type out multi-line Status entries.
The right Highlights bar should have some filters/settings options; so equipped, this sidebar could be great, but now it’s just another unfiltered catch-all feed.

Overall, I think many of the complaints are coming from people who never had a great grasp on the “old” interface in the first place, and/or had never/seldom really gotten into the Options and Settings. I’m reading many complaints that you “shouldn’t be able to see private conversations between other friends on your Home feed”; this is entirely up to the settings those other friends have enabled, and generally taken as being a feature of facebook.
In my opinion, the “new” facebook is okay, but it’s just okay. Rather than being a wholesale improvement or worsening over the “old” version, I feel it just shifts the problem areas around a bunch. At very least, I have to give the people at facebook credit for their progressive thinking and attempts at a guided evolution of a service that many of us are becoming increasingly dependent on.

Tags: ,

  1. osteoderm’s avatar

    An addendum: I’ve just found a few more/new controls under Settings:Privacy Settings:Newsfeed and Wall; they don’t filter what you receive, but help to manage what you send. So, this doesn’t help my own feed gripes, but careful fiddling may help my friends…



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *