When I am sick and feeling like crap, I tend not to smile as much as I usually do. However, one thing that became a reoccurring theme today made my lips move ever so slightly from my constant frowning position into a faint smirk. While scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed I saw all the people having heart attacks over the new changes to the most popular social networking site in the world. You honestly would have thought that overnight someone must have gone into the houses of some of these Facebook users and robbed them of everything they owned, killed their dog, and then set fire to the place based on some of the reactions of outrage that I saw. Likewise, for every two posts of outrage that I saw, I read at least one post using just as many capital letters and just as many exclamation points as the anti-new layout people by Facebook users who wanted to make their point that “change happens” or to “just live with it.” I found it humorous how so many people let the new Facebook changes impact them one way or the other to speak out against it on, ironically, their Facebook pages.
To be completely honest, back when I was a Facebook rookie I too would get a little agitated when I would go to sleep after using one version of Facebook only to wake up the next day and see that it had been replaced with a version that made it so my notifications were in a new place or that certain chat settings had been changed. Didn’t Mark Zuckerberg know that my whole social existence hinged on Facebook and by pulling the rug out from underneath me he was severely damaging my cred? You know though, after about the third time changes were made on Facebook about four months into my initial time on the service, I kind of stopped getting worked up about it.
If you are over eighteen years old and you have been on Facebook for two years or more, you should probably not act as if the world is ending when changes are made. Let’s face it, changes on Facebook approximately every two or three months is about as likely as the sun rising and setting each day. What I find so amusing is that the new changes will occur, people will bitch about it for a day, they will get used to it, and then they will pretty much completely forget about what the older version was like before they were introduced with the new version that they initially despised.
I think the only people I feel sorry for when changes are made are the “older” generation of Facebook users. I know my mom is going to go on and she is going to be a little puzzled about the bigger pictures and the numerous help bubbles that are going to pop up explaining to her the new changes. I do expect a phone call from her the minute she logs on (“No Mom, it is not your computer acting weird. Everyone now has this version of Facebook. Yes, you still write on my wall the same way you always do. No Mom, that girl is just a friend.”)
To the people who let the complaints about the new Facebook layout get to them: Take a deep breath and don’t let the complaining bother you so much that you have to devote a status update to it. Just realize that these complaints are just as much of a sure thing as the Facebook changes themselves. No matter how elegantly or non-elegantly you put it, people are always going to resist the change, it is just a fact of life in pretty much every aspect. Hate to break it to you, but your attempt at trying to make people “grow up” and “get on with their lives” is falling on deaf ears. Just give it a rest.
In business, it is a catch-22 when you have a successful product and you have to wrestle with the prospect of change. If you ride your successful product for a long time without change, there will be a group in your customer base who will become tired of the same old thing and they will put pressure on you to add something new. Once you appease that group and you do add new components to the product, you piss off the other group in your customer base who can’t tolerate change and who probably eat the same thing for dinner every single night. It is impossible to please everyone.
Just a quick non-Facebook example of this: At my job, we produce the best in-stadium game day football experience at the Football Championship Subdivision level and one of the best experiences in all of college football. Yes, we could continue to do the same thing year in and year out but we would get crucified by people in our fan base who expect to see new and exciting elements each year. Once we do add new stuff though, the old school fans will complain that things “are not done the way they were three years ago, and the way they were done three years ago was much better.” It is amazing how people resist change so much that they can get a vastly superior product placed right in front of their eyes and still tell you with a straight face that they think the past version was better.
I am an advocate for change in the modern business model and I do support Facebook making frequent changes. Do you understand the gold mine that Mark Zuckerberg has? Do you know how many aspiring social networking sites he has chomping at his bit right now? The dude is a competitor and he is going to keep tinkering and improving his product every chance he gets to keep his monopoly. It is just what successful business people do. Facebook could care less about pissing people off for a day or two after they make changes because they know that they will eventually adapt. If Facebook kept the same version they had three years ago they would be about as relevant as Myspace is right now.
People need to chill when Facebook makes changes…both the people who dislike change and the people who dislike the people who dislike change. Instead of spending your time spewing out an emotionally charged status update, either (if you dislike change) take the time to understand the new version and appreciate the fact that the company is trying to offer you a better product or (if you dislike the people who dislike change) save your frustrated energy and take comfort that you will probably make a lot of money when you grow up because you understand the necessity of change. Besides, if you wise up the people who don’t like change you are just going to be adding more competition to your chances of achieving your big pay day one of these days. Enjoy Facebook. Don’t Blink.