Bit of a lengthy rant here, but hear me out, especially if you’re a student like me.
In my opinion, one of the things that originally afforded Facebook the upper-hand over the existing social media platforms at the time of its creation, has been lost somewhere along the way. That was the impeccable simplicity of the user experience. It has become cluttered and distracting, and I would argue more of a social black hole, than an efficient platform for human interaction. It has undoubtedly increased the capacities from which we are able to communicate; there are new new forms of interaction, digital planes and realms that never existed. The potential they have created for mankind is tremendous, however, I’m not convinced it’s been leveraged, or applied, in the best way for all of us.
I just opened Fb, wanting to update my status, and then the home page hit me, and the chat bar on the right with all these icons of my friends faces, and then this scrolling slideshow of recent comments and what not, which my friends have rececently said, and all of my notifications for all of my groups on the left. But I don’t feel in control of my social world. I feel like I’m standing inside a circle with all of my friends swarming around me. Seeing so many familiar faces, and information about your friends, acquaintances, classmates, family, all at once, conjures up so many memories, and thoughts, and questions, and impulses waiting for you to choose whether to act upon. It’s overwhelming and I find often distracts from the social activity you set out to accomplish. In my opinion, it’s too much of an overcrowded control panel for my social world.
Everything is accessible, and each feature is ‘simple’ and intuitive to use, but so what, we don’t need it ALL in front of us at once. I know who my friends are, I don’t need all kinds of pictures. I don’t deal well with clutter personally, I get distracted and a tad overwhelmed at times; it’s too much going on for me. To focus well, I prefer a clean, simnple layout, my eyes prefer contrast, and even symmetry to an extent. More importantly, when I log onto Facebook, I try to do so with a reason or goal in mind to guide my experience, since for me, it’s become easier to drift off into a social daze. Do you know what I’m talking about?
Facebook = unproductive, seems to be a consensus among University/College, even high-school students these days (and of course their parents). I’m sure you’re familiar with the assortment of heavily used apps out there that are built as ‘self-control’ mechanisms to temporarily disable certain sites during times when you want to be productive. I’d be willing to bet that the majority of them were created after the advent of Facebook, many of them discovering the pain/need that they are based upon alleviating, through spending lots of time on Facebook. When I saw the Fb home page just now before writing this, I honestly forgot what I had initially set out to do on Facebook. Hence the rant.
Sure all these cool little features and notifications everywhere on their home page probably generate lots of clicks and user activity and increase total time spent on the site per visit, yada-yada, all the metrics, but I would argue they ruin the user experience! At least my user experience, and the user experience of many students I would suppose. We are students, we have lots to juggle and prioritize in our day-to-day, when we socialize on Facebook, we need to get shit done! Y U NO LET US FB YYYYYY!!!
In all seriousness, with the vision of building overlapping networks and increasing at-your-fingertips-ness, Facebook has become too cluttered and inefficient as a social platform for students. But hey, hold on! You can do SO much socializing, and organizing, with SO many people, all just mouse-clicks away, in pretty well no time on Fb? How can it possibly be inefficient?…
I shall leave that question for you to ponder during your next Facebook session. (If you remember that is).
For now, during mid-term season, if you want to talk to your friend, need to ask someone a quick study question, or tell them to meet you at the library, even check the details of an event, do it on OOHLALA, we won’t keep you for an hour, we promise
I leave you with a wise quote from my housemate/brother_from_another_mother: “Ain’t nu’n’ to it, but to do it.” Words I’ve learned to live by.
We are students. We are busy. We get shit done. So don’t fret, here at OOHLALA, we got you students, we got you.
P.S. Isn’t it a good thing you took a break from studying to read this? Or.. did you see this on Fb? Exactly how long have you bean ‘on break’ now? Do you remember what you set out to do? Or did you log onto Fb just to hang-out? There’s coffee shops, residences, bars and street-corners for that. Tell your friends to meet you there. But save yourself a couple hours do it on OOHLALA, from your smart phone.