In Facebook you have my page, my pictures, my messages, and my preferences in everything you do, eat, watch, read, and otherwise consume. In addition there is a whole digital world of “stuff” to share and, of course, there are my friends. The more friends you have the more stuff you get and the more people you have telling you they like you. This applies to brand pages as well as personal profile pages.
Obviously, there are some pretty strong proprietary feelings here. You tend to feel that whatever is on your page or in the name of your business is clearly yours. So Facebook has a challenge keeping things contemporary and fresh while never departing too drastically from the notion that the stuff on the Facebook personal and professional pages belongs to the people that put it there.
Since this is user generated content, anybody can say almost anything which means that content ranges from worthwhile to worthless, but the freedom to say what you want to your friends and friends of your friends is an immensely attractive proposition.
When everything seems to be moving along smoothly and you like your page and what it says and how it’s looking and then Facebook decides to rearrange the pages, make little images bigger, and vice versa, and start messing around with personal and professional content, well you might get a little perturbed if not disturbed. You might even get angry because nobody asked your permission to change what you thought was yours.
That being said, someday in the very near future (Facebook has set and reset deadlines many times) your Facebook page and the pages belonging to 800 million other members is going to look different—like it or not. Content will remain the same and, in many ways, will be enhanced with the ability to post historic photos and other descriptions that demonstrate change over time. (There are numerous other ramifications of the new format and the mandatory nature of the change.)
Facebook says the transition to Timeline is going well with the more than 8 million brands and companies that have already made the switch. Big companies and brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Dr Pepper, and Ford have claimed that Timeline strengthens customer interactions.
However, the new look still remains disturbing to some people, especially the baby boomer and senior demographic. They’re not very enthusiastic—understatement here—about learning how to use something when they thought they had already done that. It’s going to be an awkward period of adjustment unless Facebook takes a timely and active orientation role.
Responsible orientation to Timeline should be sponsored by Facebook beyond the reverberating confines of forums and third party blogs to help the shyer and less savvy members adjust to the new look that they never asked for.
Perhaps Facebook should lay down their arms and call a truce with Google for a couple of weeks and take some time to create step-by-step guides, post current FAQ’s, and provide readily accessible information for those members who felt they had finally found a place to settle and have a decent conversation without a bunch of unexpected interruptions.