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?

Facebook-hoax

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.

Vine – Twitter’s response to a social media merger


In an already cluttered social media battlefield dominated by Facebook, Twitter unleashes their latest weapon: Vine, a mobile app that enables users to create and share short videos.

Emphasizing on simplicity, videos are capped at a 6 second maximum. This forces users to conform to the same ‘micro-blogging’ mentality made familiar by Twitter. Vine, naturally following in the footsteps of the creators’ main project, uses the tried and true ‘follower’ system, allowing you to view the visual micro-blogs of anyone you choose. The app also incorporates a search function, providing gif-like videos relating to everything from magic tricks, cute dogs, and other things that we shouldn’t (but do!) care about.

Image

  • Has Instagram Met Its Match?

Naturally, many comparisons have been drawn between Vine and Instagram on account of the visual and artistic emphasis put on both services. A quick Google search will show you that many consider Vine as ‘Instagram for videos’. Interestingly enough, Vine’s blog is attempting to position the app away from the Facebook-owned photo sharing service.

Vine is a video service without a play button. This was intentional. Old things are beautiful, but new things should look, well… new. That’s why Vine doesn’t have a play button. It also doesn’t have a pause button, a timeline scrubber, a blinking red light, or dials and a brushed-metal finish to give you the impression that you’re using a dusty video camera.

Posted by Rus Yusupov (@rus)
Co-founder & Creative Director, Vine

Notice the subtle shots at Instagram’s focus on vintage style photos with an old school feel? Vine is not simply trying to be better than Insta, but is rather trying to set itself apart.

  • The Bottom Line: Facebook vs. Twitter

Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in mid-2012 resulted in an unpopular move by Twitter: disabling the function to share and view Instagram photos directly on to your Twitter feed.

Was denying support to their primary competition simply Twitter’s natural reaction to the aquisition, or was this Twitter’s first step in paving the way for their own visual blogging tool?

Regardless of their intentions, the Instagram/Vine feud will be largely decided by the corporations to which they belong.

When it comes down to it, the success of Vine will be dependent on Twitter’s ability to fully integrate it into their consumer’s everyday lives. In this respect, Instagram has had success with a staggering number of active users. With only just over a month since its release, Vine is still too young to assess on the same level.

You can find Vine’s website here. The app is currently available on iOS, and expansion to Android is expected soon.

Let the visually-centered social media battle begin,

Josh

For more written by Josh, click here.