Us humans sure have a hard time with change, don’t we? Maybe we like the feeling of security, knowing that our environment is as it should be. Maybe it is our nature to keep and preserve order, as we see it. Maybe it’s genetic. I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to science to figure out. As for me, I know that I just don’t like unexpected inconvenience. Who does?
Facebook is in the process of making changes to its network, again. Usually the changes are more subtle; a tweak here, a change there, moving this or that here or there… etc. Usually, these changes have had little effect on me. I’ve had my settings the way I want them for years, it seems. Cosmetic changes have never been a big deal. In fact, I’m usually that guy who always jumps in someone’s post about how Facebook had done them wrong by making some sort of unwanted change, and trying to convince them that it’s all OK. I usually try to bring order to the err of panic that inevitably permeates across the walls of users everywhere. I also try to tame the flames of panic from users who swear that everyone is on the verge of getting some massive virus due to some change Facebook made over any given weekend. It never fails. You quickly learn which of your friends are tech-savvy or those who actually read the release about the changes made and why they were made.
Well, inevitably I became one of those people for about a day! My reason for being put off was not anything to do with privacy or fear of viruses, or the unknown. I was simply inconvenienced. My wall, and how the posts are presented, pretty much changed dramatically. What did I do about it? I complained via status update, of course! However, it only took about half a day to get over it.
You see, I’m not a typical Facebook user. I know and understand that now. It’s easy to assume that most people behave similar to you. In social media, and I suppose being online in general, there is a huge generation gap. The obvious gap starts with those who grew up without Internet, or computers for that matter. Then there are those who grew up with the Internet. For them, the Internet has always been around. Then there are the ‘tweeners of the Internet world. These are people who are older and grew up without instant ability to find answers to anything, at any time, anywhere – but are quite savvy with the ways of the Web. In fact, many of them have made great careers in the industry. I fall into this category. I was 28 when I started my career as a web developer back in 1996. I took to the Internet with open arms. Like most, I can’t really imagine being without it. I love information. I always have. But what makes me and others like me different is that we didn’t grow up being this connected to people constantly.
I’ve never been much of a phone person. I don’t always want to be able to be contacted. I don’t always want to socialize. I remember when mobile phones didn’t even exist. Heck, I remember having a party-line for a few years as a kid. (Yes, there was a time when people had to share a phone line with some other random person or family.) I even remember live operators. So while I embrace the web and social media, I still keep my distance. I am somewhat selective of what I share, what I “like”, and who I follow. My personality online is really no different than in real life. I usually sit back, observe and listen, and then add to a discussion when I think I have something to actually add to it. I will post status updates to see who bites. I always keep my friend list under 130. I’m not sure why, but it always ends up like that. If I don’t find what you are posting to be interesting, or if you and I never communicate directly, chances are I’m going to drop you. It’s nothing personal of course. That’s just how I roll! You see, I don’t need a social network to define what it means to be a friend. We all have friends that you like but just don’t want to be around them day in and day out. That’s OK. There is nothing wrong with that.
Also, keep in mind that I’m just talking about age differences here. In addition to younger and older, there is also male and female. And beyond that (and this is the big one) are cultural differences. There are a lot of different types of people to make happy. It’s not easy.
What’s this have to do with Facebook? Well, I guess what I’m saying is that change is constant. It happens and continues to happen. Our cheese gets moved all the time. It’s up to us to get over it and adapt. In the grand scheme of things, Facebook could cease to exist altogether and we would all still be fine and get by just fine without it. Some would argue that we would probably be better off!
The thing to remember is that Facebook really is what we as a country, claim to be; a melting pot. One big huge melting pot. Facebook has a base of over 750,000,000 users. It is a mixed population larger than every country other than China and India. And it doesn’t really seem to be slowing down. So considering these numbers, you should always expect changes to Facebook and how you use it. It’s a fine line they dance trying to appease both their users and the marketing world.
Like I said earlier, I was only upset for about half a day. Once I read about the changes and then spent some time making sure my configurations and lists were in order to my liking, I realized that changes were not too bad. They were easy to adjust to. I even previewed the Timeline, which I think is far superior to the current profile pages.
So stop letting Facebook rile you up in the morning. Read about the changes and what they mean to you. Accept that your free product is going to evolve. Remember that Facebook is just a tool that you choose to use because it benefits you. Your life got on just fine before Facebook, and it can also do without Facebook. Whatever changes they bring, know that you will be just fine. Just take a deep breath, eat your breakfast and don’t let Facebook ruin your morning!