Don’t hold your breath-Facebook changes are far from over.
You would have to be living under a rock, better yet a boulder of some sort, to miss the major changes on the Facebook network. Whether it was the ability to “subscribe” to the updates of close friends, or seeing the newsfeed appear on the right side of the home page, which I also like to refer to as “anyone with a short attention span’s worst nightmare,” the changes were apparent, and even made headlines. Although the majority of “social-media dependent” users survived the tweaks, we should not hold our breath, because there are more to come.
In the coming weeks, are oh-so-familiar timeline will be newly-designed to resemble a scrapbook, organized by year. We will now be able to look back on our lives chronologically, recounting events from a Greek date party that some would sooner like to forget ever happened, to that first date with “the best boy ever,” who, well…isn’t anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, this new feature will help us remember wonderful, proud moments, too—for instance, a brand new car or an “A+” on a history midterm—but you have to wonder if this “blast from the past” timeline will help us move forward or hold us back.
You will also now be able to pick what your timeline will consist of. If something is interesting, you can star it, which adds it to your “favorites” and doubles its size on your newsfeed. In the event that you are having trouble deciphering “real friends” from “sometimes friends,” there’s no need to worry—Facebook will now take care of that for you, as well. The site will now feature categorized lists consisting of “close friends” and “acquaintances” and each will consist of photos, status updates and other posts. There is no better judge of whom I choose to interact with than, well, myself, but it does seem somewhat handy to be able to easily differentiate between a good friend, a family member, and some weirdo that you met at a Taco Bell drive-in.
We all know that Facebook is America’s favorite pastime for the lazy man, and many of us have spent countless hours on the site, rummaging through our friends and getting absolutely nowhere, but that is all about to get worse. New partnerships with Hulu, The Washington Post and Spotify, will allow users to watch movies and television shows, listen to music and have access to news, all while logged into Facebook.
The changes will inevitably do wonders for users’ multitasking skills, but how much will it really cater to productivity? These new collaborations simply make being lazy easier, all the while contributing to the list of distractions keeping us from the more practical activities we should be engaging in, such as finding a job, or the cringe-worthy concept of “studying.”
Facebook is clearly pulling out all the stops in an attempt not to fade into the same dark oblivion as the once-riveting MySpace, but regardless of the never-ending attempts at utilitarianism, Facebook may never trump the amenities networking site Google+ has to offer.
Google+ gives users the same ability to network with friends while providing a means to create Google Docs and access Gmail.
At the end of the day, users log into Facebook because they want to. After all, we are not paying customers. We’ve become programmed to thrive off of the social networking experience. Changes will not deter us, and regardless of updates, we will remain resilient. It is important that we understand we cannot become so emerged in the multi-faceted online organization that Facebook is becoming that we lose touch with everything else that real life has to offer. We have to maintain a handle on our own reality, before Mark Zuckerberg and company do that for us as well.
Andrea is a junior journalism major from Denton, Texas.