Earth to Facebook: Talk to your users

Facebook has a major communications problem on its hands. It regularly and consistently makes changes to its platform to the ire of its 800 million users.

Last week, Facebook launched a new news feed that automatically tells people what their top news is. The change is causing many people in my circles to threaten to cancel their Facebook accounts all together. And I’m sure they’re not alone.

And the changes, they keep a coming. Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Timeline at a tech conference which will virtually change the users’ experiences for good.

Now this could be the next best thing since sliced bread, but here’s my problem. It’s too much change at once. The news feed, the subscriptions option, the continual changes to the look and feel of Facebook,and now Timeline; it’s too much Zuck.

You’re confusing people and each of these changes you make forces people to relearn Facebook. More importantly, the changes are pissing people off!

If it’s making John and Jane upset, businesses that interact with them should be concerned too. Businesses could be losing potential customers all because Facebook is moving too fast and with little communication.

This could all be solved with just a little engagement by Facebook. Rather than making a speech in front of a bunch of techies at the f8 conference (I don’t even know what that is) talk to your customers.

Instead of interrupting our experiences after the fact, tell us ahead of time. Every time I log on and see a change there’s also a message telling me what happened. If I also had just a little heads up it would go along way to making me prepare for what’s coming. I don’t want to go searching the Facebook dungeon to find the answers I need to your latest and “greatest” evolution. It still might not satisfy everyone, but it definitely can go a long way with many people.

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7 Responses to Earth to Facebook: Talk to your users

  1. Hey look at that blogroll! I didn’t know it was there – thank you!

    I actually love the new Facebook features, but I also understand I’m not the target audience. I read a story the other day that said marketers are going to have to become really creative about engaging their customers and prospects with the new changes.

    I’m OK with that because Facebook is a free service that we all jumped on, as marketers, to drive community. But it’s free. And, if it continues to be so, we really don’t get a say in what changes they do or don’t make.

    That said, I LOVE the idea of them, I don’t know, engaging their users on their own stinkin’ platform.

    • Gini, Spin Sucks is my go-to read everyday. You have really great stuff. I have learned a lot from what you and all the other commenters say. Plus, your suggestions for people to follow are really good.

      I haven’t had quite the chance to check out all the new Facebook features yet. My toddler takes all my Facebook time. Haha! But I really think this these changes could be a good thing and can make the Facebook experience much richer. It just takes a bit of communication to do that, and that is where I think Facebook has failed so far. I hope they use this transition period with the developers to ease everyday folk into the new interface.

      And thanks for coming on over. You’re my first official comment.

  2. Jay Dolan says:

    No one can change an 800 million member platform without making someone upset. It’s impossible. Even if Facebook told people, “This is how we’re going to change your profile.” and asked for feedback, people would still get ticked off. “Why was someone else’s idea used, but not mine?” It happened when Facebook introduced the news feed. It happened after Zuckerberg went on 60 minutes and rolled out the current version of the profile (and there was more than an adequate heads up and option to switch early). And it will happen when the timeline rolls out.

    Besides, if people had the time to think about the implications of the new profile and how they’re data and information will now be used to serve them targeted advertising, a lot of people would get upset and switch to another social network that isn’t as creepy at the moment.

    • No doubt Jay. People will be upset no matter what you do. Humans just don’t like change. But I think a lot can be said about communicating directly to your consumer rather than making an announcement at a trade conference. I can only hope that ample communications is had to properly integrate 800 million Facebook users to what looks like some drastic changes.

      And if they do jump ship, where would they go? It seems to me they would be stuck with nobody to talk to. Facebook is where everyone hangs out. G+ has a lot of work to bring people over and even more to get them to engage with each other. I don’t know what to say about the other social networks except that they’re almost irrelevant. Either way, they all are going to use data to sell advertising. There’s not way to escape that unfortunately.

  3. I like and I enjoy the new interface but a lot of my friends, family and clients are overwhelmed with so many changes in such a short period of time. Even some of them are thinking of leaving FB and going to Google+. Particularly I don’t care that much because I use twitter more for business and FB for minor information and family matters. But I’m agreed on when users are just getting familiar with one feature another one is around the corner.

    I don’t see how all this changes are going to bring more users to FB when now they have to go through more guidance reading and trainings. FB should be more focus on the privacy issue and stop trying to compete with Google, which I think is their main goal and not listening to their audience.

    Also, I don’t see how beneficial these changes will be for marketers. The “like” button will no longer be as important and marketers will have to work harder to earn their place in valuable news feeds space. It’s a lot for any marketer and advertiser to digest again and deliver value to their customers/fans on a consistent basis.

    Alirio Pirela, @alitiop

    • The one giant Internet company that I think gets the communications thing right is Amazon. Jeff Bezos and company are consistently keeping customers informed of changes and what they mean. When it comes to Facebook, I have only seen a small snippet of info about changes, at most. But I don’t think the changes Facebook makes will affect new users as much as it will current ones.

      Very true on the marketers and businesses comment. But that can be just as exciting to figure it all out as it is a challenge.

      Thanks for stopping by and participating.

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