I Hate Facebook.

I hate Facebook.

You may say, “But Brad, Facebook is great for connecting with friends and keeping track of your social life! How can you hate it? You even use it yourself!” I don’t dislike the concept of Facebook, as I think it is extremely important, but I find it cluttered and disorganized in its current state. This may sound strange to you right now, but bear with me.

One of the main issues I have with Facebook is its user interface. The pages on your Facebook account are crowded with menus, options, and feeds that I find overwhelming. Many people don’t even use most of the features available, sticking to core functionality like the wall posting, photo uploading, and chat. You could argue that you can’t hate a product just because it doesn’t have a great interface, but the interface problem reflects a much deeper issue that only manifests itself in the UI.

Most successful consumer technology brands are more focused. Most of their products and services can be described in only one sentence:

Apple: An integrated ecosystem of personal computing hardware and software across multiple platforms designed to create the greatest user experience

GoogleA set of productivity tools and services based in the cloud, unified by a social media platform

Amazon: An online superstore and hardware companion dedicated to simplifying content delivery and consumption

Dropbox: A set of applications that allows users to access their personal data from anywhere

Groupon: A social platform dedicated to helping people find the best deals on everything

This applies to many popular social networks as well:

Twitter: A universal platform for expressing and following thoughts in a concise manner

Google+: A social network centered on organizing your communications and relationships with others through custom “circles”

LinkedIn: A platform dedicated to improving communication between businesses

Foursquare: A social platform centered around users current locations

Pinterest: A platform allowing users to express their interests by pinning content on themed “pinboards”

Then there is Facebook:

Facebook: “The social graph of everything”

What makes these other companies and services above so appealing is they focus on doing a few things well. They also excel at making their products beautiful, clean, and simple. Facebook is becoming more like “tech-glomerates”: Samsung, HP, Acer, Sony, and Microsoft – none of which have the same vision and focus of my earlier examples. While I understand that most of my earlier examples don’t make nearly as much revenue as tech-glomerates, they aren’t throwing tons of new products at consumers in the hopes that they will use/buy a few of them.

Facebook is a lot like the companies I just mentioned. Have you ever used Facebook features like “Lists,” “Ask A Question,” “Find Friends,” “Notes,” and “Gifts”? This is because they are not necessary for the experience Facebook is aiming to create, so as a result, consumers don’t use them. In addition, many seem half-baked, or so buried in the website that I wonder if they have been abandoned. In some ways, Facebook is like Apple after Steve Jobs was kicked out. They tried to enter into too many markets in the hopes of increasing profit. When Jobs returned, he drew a 2 by 2 grid on a whiteboard and said, “This is how it should be. Two average-use computers, desktop and laptop, and two power-user computers, one desktop and one laptop.” As a result, Apple began to strengthen. This story highlights one of the most important lessons Jobs taught us: less can be more. Facebook should take a page from the playbook of Steve Jobs and get rid of extraneous features and functionality, and bump up connectivity between products.

There are many things I admire about Facebook, such as its massive user base, and how for now it has kept my family and friends solely on it,. Despite this, users are fickle. As soon as an alternative with better core functionality and less clutter (*cough cough* Google+), Facebook could go the way of MySpace in the blink of an eye. MySpace proves that market share isn’t enough to stay dominant. Don’t get me wrong; Facebook is an extremely important part of modern life and culture. I only think that Facebook needs to do some serious housecleaning and make itself leaner, more tightly knit, and pleasing to use. You may disagree, but remember, if Facebook becomes a thing of the past, I predicted it first.

    • nur3k
    • April 3rd, 2012

    if they were doing everything in their system with Jobs perfection, then they would never achieve a level of 800 millions users. Facebook is so great because it has got everything, you may not be using these feature, but they’ve earned a few million users with this, another few millions with that. And let’s don’t forget that they are still making progress and introducing new features. Nothing revolutionary, just keeping up with the competition, that’s all they need.

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