Facebook is failing me

I don’t Facebook as much as I used to. My apologies to my Facebook friends. I still love you. I just don’t love the Facebook experience as much as I once did. I still check in many times throughout the day. I still post status updates, share pictures and video of my daughter and links to interesting articles. I check-in at places and share new blog posts, books I’m reading and, occassionally, the music I’m listening to. I still enjoy that part of everything.

But I am finding it very difficult to keep up with other people. The people I most want to see are getting buried beneath the Other Stuff. At the moment, I use Facebook much like a publishing platform. I’d like to use it as a way to keep in touch with friends.

I think there are two main reasons this is happening: 1) Facebook isn’t mobile friendly and 2) I forget to use the curated feeds.

Facebook isn’t mobile friendly. Both the iPhone and iPad apps are wretched. This is a problem since I do most of my Facebooking on my phone and tablet. To be fair, both are actually great in allowing me to post statuses, share pictures and video directly from my phone’s camera roll and check-in places. I get real-time notifications when people like, comment, message or post to my Wall. This is all terrific, which is why I do these things a lot. What I don’t do a lot is visit other people’s news feeds. They don’t render well on either the iPhone or iPad. The feeds are cumbersome to explore and can be difficult to comment on. I usually scroll a few screens, hit “like” a dozen times and move on to something else. Not good friend behavior.

I have tried using Facebook in Safari, which is somewhat better than the app interface but still isn’t fully functional. The Timeline UI renders rather poorly and it takes  a while for things down the page to load. Not good.

From time to time, I try to adjust to these problems by using a third party platform like HootSuite or Flipboard. Both help me see posts I would otherwise miss but neither feel like real Facebook experiences. I am open to suggestions here.

The problem with other people’s feeds became most pronounced about a year ago when Facebook changed the way they ranked news feeds. I started getting a lot more random posts than posts from the friends with whom I was most engaged. Not sure what they changed in the news feed algorithm, but it made my Facebook experience less coherent, not more. At the same time, they made Facebook less friendly by adding the javascript real-time crawler in the upper right-hand corner. This does not display at all on the mobile browser versions. Confusing.

Tonight, I rediscovered the smart lists on the left that allow me to customize feeds to lift friends into focused group categories that hopefully make them more manageable. Not sure how I missed that fact. I’m going to give list making another try. Hopefully, I will begin seeing more posts and engaging with friends more meaningfully. Until then, Facebook peeps, know that I love you and wish you the best, even if I haven’t liked your posts in a while.

How do you use Facebook? Do you curate lists? Visit specific friends’ Walls directly? Visit all friends’ Walls regularly? I’m looking for practical advice here. I’m not sure how Facebook became strange to me. I need help becoming a better friend.

 

 

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