Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is Facebook Growing Up Too Fast?

The New York Times addresses the question:

"More than two and a half million dissenters have joined a group on Facebook’s own site called “Millions Against Facebook’s New Layout and Terms of Service.” Others are lambasting the changes in their own status updates, which are now, ironically, distributed much more visibly to all of their Facebook friends.

The changes, Facebook executives say, are intended to make the act of sharing — not just information about themselves but what people are doing now — easier, faster and more urgent. Chris Cox, 26, Facebook’s director of products and a confidant of Mr. Zuckerberg, envisions users announcing where they are going to lunch as they leave their computers so friends can see the updates and join them.

“That is the kind of thing that is not meaningful when it is announced 40 minutes later,” he says.

The simmering conflict over the design change speaks to the challenges of pleasing 200 million users, many of whom feel pride of ownership because they helped to build the site with free labor and very personal contributions."

“They have a strange problem,” says S. Shyam Sundar, co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University, of Facebook’s quandary. “This is a technology that has inherently generated community, and it has gotten to the point where members of that community feel not only vested but empowered to challenge the company.”

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