Facebook used to be just a few things: Your profile picture. Your list of college classes. Your relationship status. Then it added the Wall. Then it added the News Feed. Then Places. And then everything else.
The features come fast and furiously, they’ve been almost unstoppable. The company has grown and thus so has its development strategy. Sometimes, you get a hit: Graph Search is pretty cool. Photo tagging was obviously a good idea. Chat is a core function.
But then, sometimes, Facebook, you confound us. These are those times.
The Games Feed
Having separate feeds is definitely a great idea; being able to see just my local crew or just my college friends is valuable. (Not insanely valuable, but hey, we’ll take it.) But one of the specific feeds Facebook offers you is beyond unnecessary: The Games Feed.
Want a never-ending update on your friends’ obsession with Farmville and Candy Crush? It gets even better when most of your Facebook contacts are wise enough to have silenced all the notification noises they’re making with this, and one or two people are the only ones showing up in this feed. Perfect. I now know what two of you are doing all the time, always.
Crazier yet? You can’t delete this feed, only add it to Favorites. I don’t… I just. I can’t.
Now this is just mean. Last year, Facebook introduced the ability to edit a comment. Thank ye, Facebook gods! No more looking like an idiot for using the wrong “your” and then debating how much energy we were willing to devote to deleting said comment and rewriting it with the correct usage (saying “first world problems” is incredibly played out, but it so applies here).
But don’t think you can get away with slyly correcting yourself, oh no. A little button letting everyone view the edit history of your comment shows up. It’s one thing if you were fixing a misspelling of “receive” (that damn “I after E except after C” B.S. is never going to seep into your brain, is it?). It’s entirely another if in a drunken rage you called out your friend’s boyfriend for being a total douchebag about carpooling to the barbeque next week in that group post you’re all tagged in.
Or something else that isn’t that. Whatever.
Welcome and notify guests
Facebook Events have sort of become this giant guilt-trip that’s no fun to be on either end of: Either you’ve created an event and end up constantly texting your friends, asking them to seriously, please, just let me know if you’re coming and if you can bring some guac – or you’re dodging texts from your friends because we’re all non-committal jerks who just want to show up to stuff when we feel like it, jeez!
Facebook has tried to update these and make them more engaging and interesting, but this feature just makes you a hyperactive naggy-naghead. The minute you do join an event, you’re prompted to tell everyone why you’re going. “Hi! I’m going because there’s nothing better happening this weekend.” “Hi! I’m going because my date bailed at the last second.” “Hi! I’m going because drinking alone has taken a hard right turn from relaxing to concerning.”
Unimportant life events
When Facebook introduced the Timeline, it also brought a new feature that let you add life events. Things like when you graduated college, when you started dating someone, when you got married, or moved, or got a job. You know – important life events.
But if you dive in just the tiniest bit deeper, you’ll see that Facebook offers some suggestions. For instance, when you got glasses or contacts. Seriously.
I’ll tell you that story right now: I got glasses in 7th grade after pretending for two years that I could see everything and then I put them on and I was like “Oh wow, trees have leaves.” This was not an important event that is comparable to being accepted to college.
The Other inbox
Oh, Other inbox, you are the bane of our Facebook existences. When Facebook introduced its new messaging system, it also brought the Other inbox, a place where “spam” from people you weren’t friends with was collected. The long-tail plan was to create the feature where these unknowns could pay to message you, but the effect has been that this “secret” inbox went under our radars and messages went unread for quite some time.
The first time many of us looked, there were notes from relatives who’d just gotten Facebook and confusedly didn’t know how to add us; from friends who’d deleted Facebook, returned, and just wanted to check in. Some of them were from straight up creepers, but nonetheless – these were our messages and we didn’t know they were there.
Still, it remains rather non-descript and unnoticed by most users for long bouts of time.
The point of the Acquaintances feed just eludes me. When Facebook created auto Friend Lists, there were a handful that the network was able to make on its own by culling information from your contacts. This included Close Friends, Family, College, High School, and a feed based on your location… and then one for your Acquaintances. What’s that now? This feed seems like the leftovers – and not the leftovers that you’re pumped to eat, like from Thanksgiving or homemade mac’n'cheese… more like a really average burger that you know won’t heat up right. Does anyone often click this to check out what’s going on with their Acquaintances? Really? You just tiptoe in, take one bite… aaaaand it’s game over.
How do you know ___?
Every once in awhile, the above poll shows up in the right-hand sidebar. We all know by now that Facebook wants to know every single thing it can about us, and perhaps this is a part of a News Feed algorithm update that’s in the works. Still, c’mon man… this is just a little bit too much. And honestly, why would I ever tell you even more than you’re already gleaning from my account? You figure it out, Facebook. Don’t make me do more of your dirty work for you.