I have to admit that I'm a big one for change, but sometimes I like to know what's coming and prepare for it.
Facebook did what they could to get the word out about their recent redesign of profiles and fan pages. Some of the changes are welcome. Some of them ... well ... we're trying to get used to and realize we need to do some work on our end to make them truly useful.
Eric Larson, a facebook friend, left a thoughtful note about the redesign which raises some interesting points about the role of facebook in our lives -
The New, New Facebook -- some thoughts ...
I've been at this for less than a year and this is the third iteration of facebook that I've experienced. The last change prompted a ton of "I don't like it/Bring back the old fb" messages. This latest change has brought a whole new round of similar comments. I've withheld my own judgment, thinking it's probably just something I have to get used to. My old habits for using fb will give way to new habits.
But this morning I realized what might be a fundamental change. Part of what has amazed me about fb was that it joined so many different aspects of my life onto a common space. I was flabbergasted the first time a friend of mine from my teenage life began conversing with a college friend on my wall. As they joked (at my expense) I was shocked and amused to see two different parts of my life – parts that I had kept separate in my own mind – joined on the page. It was enlightening.
This morning though, as I worked at creating new Friend Lists to better filter the ongoing feed, I realized that I was repartitioning my life again. By categorizing my Friends List – like an old school Rolodex – it'll be easier to sort through all the info, but I worry that serendipitous opportunities -- "bumping into someone or something," "childhood friend this is my co-worker… ," "I saw that video your neighbor posted…" -- might be lost. I'm worried it may prove to move an online "porch community" into one much more like the real communities in which we live.
From an online marketing and analytics perspective, segmenting is good. But, Eric raises some important points that get at the heart of what draws us -- and keeps us coming back -- to social media tools like facebook.
I'd love to have your thoughts on this ...