That’s right, I love it. While I may still be re-training my new Feed to show me stuff I actually care about, it’s about time real-time became the standard, albeit filtered. For I think about a year now, I’ve been using twitter in real-time. The split second anything gets posted, I see it. And I love it. The web happens at the speed of light, not on a thirty-second or more delay timer. As connection speeds get faster and browsers load things faster than ever before, we’ve become naturally trained to want things instantly. Facebook is finally doing that – and right.
As with any Facebook update though, the first thing I personally saw in my Feed was people bitching and moaning about it. To be blunt: Too. Damn. Bad. The first thing you learn as a web developer is that people don’t know what they want. Facebook knows this. They know any change, however slight, is going to piss people off. And yet they do it anyway. Why do you think that is? Not once has Facebook ever rolled back a change (that I know of). Personally, I applaud them for doing that, for not caving into the cries of outrage. Status update: get over yourself already. No one is making you stay on Facebook. No one ever made you get one. All that bitching and moaning you do about design changes and privacy changes? Guess what? You opted in to it the second you joined. The web is social. It’s shared. It’s interactive. It spreads like wildfire. Face it, personal information on the internet is no longer personal, it’s public. And you made that choice.
But this post isn’t supposed to be about what the web is or isn’t. It’s about why I love the new Facebook. As I said before, the web is real-time. The old Feed on Facebook had a real-time option, but it was just that, an option. Personally, I actually did not use it. Unlike the new Feeds, there was no way to really filter it. The new Feeds offer a couple of ways to filter such as training the Top Stories engine and Smart Lists. One of the things I loved about Google+ when it launched is that is has something similar, Circles. Now, on both Facebook and Plus, I can see what everyone I’ve added is up to, or just the people I actually care to know about. Personally, the biggest issue I’ve always had with Facebook is that not everyone I have added on there is someone I would actually call a friend. 98% of the people I have on Facebook I’d just consider people I know. 1% I call colleagues. The remaining 1% are the people who I do actually consider to be a friend. With the new Feeds, Top Stories, and Smart Lists, I can finally filter Facebook accordingly. And easily. There’s no more click arrow/gear thingy > Hide / to filter. Well, let me clarify that: yes, there is, but it’s not the only way to filter any more. The single click in the corner to mark a post as a Top Story or to unmark it as one is a huge improvement. Like any system, it does need to be trained, but it catches on faster than any other system I’ve ever seen before. Smart Lists require a bit more effort to customize, but for the most part, they populate pretty well on their own. It’s clear to me that Facebook has finally found an algorithm for filtering posts from friends and liked pages that actually works.
In regards to the new Ticker, Ticker is the true Facebook real-time. Raw, unfiltered information down to the smallest detail about what’s happening this instant on Facebook by the people you follow. I love it. It’s a lot more efficient than notifications and I’ve found way more things that I care about than I ever have scrolling through my Feed or Notifications. It shows everything at just a quick glance. Personally, I’d love it even more if it wasn’t just on the Home page.
For years now, I’ve had something kind of similar for my Macs called Growl. Growl shows me everything that’s happening on my computer the split second it does. As a power user, it’s insanely helpful, especially the fact that all of those notifications also go to my iPad when I’m aware from my computer. Anywhere in the world I have internet, I know exactly what’s going on my computers. For me, the new Ticker on Facebook feels just like Growl.
So all that said, is the new Facebook going to make me move to Google+? Well, I’m already on Plus. I have been since Field Trial. As much as I’d love to move completely to Plus and away from all the bloat of Facebook, I doubt I’ll be able to any time soon. Just like I wasn’t able to move completely from Facebook to Twitter. Just like how I can’t just have one IM network that I use (but I can have one app for them all). So, long story short, scream bloody murder about the new Facebook all you want. It’s here to stay. And I love it.