Three things Facebook needs to sort out in 2015

Posted on January 5, 2015


Though it’s still the go-to social media site for most of us, it seems that few of us have a good word to say about Facebook. Since the social media site began to gather pace in the mid to late noughties, it’s changed the way we communicate, with everything from weddings, to business meetings, to general grumbles broadcast to our peers within it.

We have plenty to thank Facebook for, but it also really gets under our skin by being needlessly irritating. Here are my three requests to Mark Zuckerberg and co. for 2015:

1. Get rid of all that stuff on the right hand side

This might just be a personal vexation, but I’d be interested to know whether or not anyone actually uses that bar on the right of the screen. To me, it just clutters up the page and gives it an overly ‘busy’ look, bringing me bang up-to-date on dross that doesn’t interest me. I don’t need to know what my apps are every time I log on. I can live without the information that somebody I worked with five years ago has ‘liked’ a post by somebody I’ve never heard of. Who are the people listed in the bottom right of the page? They seem like a completely random assortment of individuals, some of whom I’ve not interacted with in years, neither physically nor virtually.

Somebody will probably point out to me that there’s a way to get rid of that column, but I shouldn’t have to – I didn’t want it in the first place!

2. Arrange the newsfeed in some kind of logical order

I’m not asking for a strictly chronologic newsfeed, but how on earth does Facebook come to its conclusions on which posts you need to see first? Items appear to be thrown together in no order at all.

The randomness of its decision-making is best summed up if you follow a sports club. It’s not uncommon for one of the top posts on my newsfeed to be Chester FC’s half-time score from the day before. A couple of years ago, on a miserable frosty day, the post at the very top of my newsfeed told me that Chester’s game on that day was subject to a pitch inspection but was likely to go ahead. When I scrolled down a little further, buried among numerous posts from friends and bands I follow, was more recent confirmation that the game had been postponed.

Its algorithms seemingly have no concept of relevance or sequence. If it can’t get it right, just put them in the order they were posted. It’s a mess at present.

3. Bother us less

This, more than anything, is where Facebook really grates. “Hey John, tell us which school you went to!”, “Why not make me your homepage, John?”, “Why not share your inside leg measurement?” and so on.

Facebook is like a parrot sometimes and it doesn’t know when to simply shut up. Just recently, it put its foot in it with its ‘Year in Review’ feature. For some people, 2014 may have been a joyous medley of parties and general good times, but others were greeted by pictures of their father’s ashes or their now deceased pets and were chirpily told “here’s what your year looked like”.

This is a good example of Facebook’s algorithms not being sophisticated enough to justify its invasiveness. Some people worry that Facebook knows too much about us. When it suggests to me that I should ‘like’ Manchester United FC, Jeremy Clarkson and Miley Cyrus, I can’t say I’m too worried about that.

I am 30 years old and I see no value in telling Facebook which school I went to, but it seems desperate to know. I’m still in touch with everyone I want to know from school, and there are certain characters I prefer to avoid. I haven’t been there in 12 years. I’ve specifically told Facebook I’m not telling it the school I went to, but it won’t listen.

Just chill out, Facebook! If I want to tell you something, I will do. I’ll let you know the bands I like and the football team I support because you can help me with this information, but I don’t want to use you as a personal fact file about myself.

On that note, let’s hope for a socially sound 2015, whether you use sites like Facebook for business or leisure.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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