Facebook: Thriving on your frustration

Brace yourself, folks. Facebook is changing.

Remember how much we hated the concept of Timeline in its early days? How about the ‘burden’ of learning how to navigate the updated News Feed after its 2009 installment? If the past is any indication, we can be sure to expect an horde of whining social media junkies in the coming weeks.

We’ll see it happen again and again. Facebook changes their layout or functionality, followed by complaints from the masses. It’s inevitable that Zuckerburg and co. are aware of the anti-change attitudes of their customers, yet apparently is not a concern.

Ignoring negative customer feedback for the sake of offering a product that the company assumes is better is a major faux-pas according to Marketing 101, yet Facebook remains the top dog in social media.

How do you do it, Zuckerburg?


How does Facebook justify these generally unwanted changes, especially when many associate these updates with frustration? Some will be quick to point out that they have to keep up with the competition, but how is change helping if it’s always previously been met with backlash? On the surface, it doesn’t seem logical. Could there be a lurking variable that might explain these rebellious changes?

I think I have an explanation.

First, let’s break down into 4 stages based on my understanding of how a Facebook user generally reacts to a major Facebook update (assuming that they’re a culprit of complaining.)

  • 1. Curiosity

You find out that Facebook has undergone a major change.

‘Hmmm, I wonder what’s been changed?’ you ask yourself, ‘What does it look like? Can it be as bad as I’ve heard?’

Let’s log in and find out.

  • 2. First Impression

You’ve logged in and you’re exploring the changes.

‘Ugh, this update sucks! How dare they change this free service in a way that I don’t like!’

What do we tend do when we’re unsatisfied with trivial matters? Complain!

  • 3. Expression

You may feel compelled to express your frustration to others.

Update your Facebook status! Tweet the world! Text your Mom! Let everyone know that Facebook has betrayed you!

  • 4. Acceptance

Eventually, you should become accustomed to the change and you might even forget what Facebook looked like beforehand.

Alternatively, you’ll lose interest in complaining. Finding reasons to hate things is hard work!

Equilibrium is restored and the social media world is at peace.

Facebook goes back to the drawing boards with dreams of new and exciting ways to get you worked up.

I’d like to direct your attention away from the sarcastic overtones and towards the Expression stage, which is the basis of my whole theory. Personally, I could list many people on my feed that have incessantly complained about Facebook updates, and I’d be willing to bet that the same is true for many others.

What if each time someone publicly complained about a change to Facebook, two observers became curious enough to look for themselves? They’d open up their News Feed to make their own judgement. They may choose to jump on the bandwagon of complainers, enabling the cycle to live on. As a result, more and more people to run to their nearest computer to see what the fuss is all about.

It seems to me that Zuckerburg is taking the ‘all publicity is good publicity’ concept to a new level.

If there is any real substance to my theory, Facebook is a marketing genius. If not, just remember me when the News Feed update goes live in the coming weeks.

I dare you not to complain.

– Josh

P.S.: Heard of Twitter’s new secret weapon? Instagram might be in trouble… More info here.