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Date Thu 22 November 2007

I sent the following as (appropriately enough) a Facebook message to Mark Zuckerberg:

Dude, I know you’re a big-shot, but I thought I’d give this a try, just giving you (and the Facebook team) some feedback.

I’m growing so frustrated with facebook that I’m thinking of writing my own alternative. If only I could get people to use it….

The Facebook that I first signed up for (the first day I got my college e-mail address in July ‘05) was prefect. I could find pretty much anyone in any of my classes. I could talk to pretty much anyone at my school, or most other schools. Most importantly, it was a place to get things done and connect. It was free of the pressure of overbearing commercial influence. It was a place where college kids - and only college kids - could connect.

My suggestion, my plea, is to give us back the old Facebook, or at least the option to use the old Facebook. The Facebook API was nice, but some things don’t work for it. You took away Courses. Now I can’t find people in my classes, because there are six different applications, each of which needs to be added separately, and some of which work horribly or not at all. I don’t want all of that junk. I don’t want to see a million boxes with kid-looking drawings and zombies and pirates on someone’s profile. If I wanted to use MySpace, I’d use MySpace!

Newsfeeds. I don’t want to know who is trying to turn my friends into a Zombie or a Warewolf, or something else moronic. Put an option on the preferences page to get rid of everything through the Facebook API. I only want to know about stuff that was in the ‘Classic Facebook’.

What the f*** is up with the advertisements in my homepage/news display? You’ve already got banners at the left, right, or bottom. Leave the center panel for the content that I WANT. You can shoves ads everywhere else on the page, but don’t mix an ad for Differin Gel in with news about my friends.

Make networks more opaque. I only want to know about people who are in colleges or workplace-related networks. Maybe, and that’s just a maybe, high-school people. but in my opinion, opening Facebook to anyone with an email address was the worst move you ever made.

So, my suggestions?
1) The “courses” feature has fragmented way too much. Unify it on a school-by-school or Facebook-wide basis. I don’t want to search 10 API apps to find someone in my class.
2) Let me choose whether or not to display Facebook API notices in my minifeed page. I don’t want to know about every time my friends use an API app.
3) Take Facebook API stuff off of profile pages. A standardized view is easy, intuitive, and quick. Searching through a mile-long profile just to find the Personal Info area is not good.
4) Bring back a college- or workplace-centric facebook.
5) Don’t try to be MySpace. I stopped using them because of clutter and annoying extensions. Now Facebook is doing the same thing.
6) Keep advertisements on the sides or bottom and, most importantly, out of content areas.

The bottom line - Facebook used to care about users and communication. Now you just care about profits and advertisers. If you don’t want to lose traffic when something better comes along, give Facebook back to the people!


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