Facebook Tinkers Again

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So last week facebook unveiled some immediate and not so immediate changes to its look and functionality.

Users woke mid-week to a distinctly different newsfeed display and immediately poured on the criticism; a day later Mark Zuckerberg announced far more dramatic changes that would roll out in a month’s time and many people (including me) actually hacked their accounts to force the change.

Sidenote: What an interesting observation about human behavior! We shun the things we are given freely and crave the things we are told we need to wait for. Can anyone spell “two year old?”

Having altered my display to show in Timeline mode already, I have a few reactions:

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1. I think people may well rebel against the display; it’s not the linear set of entries users have grown accustomed to. It’s actually kind of confusing, and makes me NOT want to look at it.

2. That said, I like the big “cover” picture at the top. I am less enthused about the loss of the photo gallery on the profile page, which was a nice grouping of my favorite and most recent shots.

3. Editing your profile has become more laborious. Finding the right dropdown menu to get rid of that “like” you’re not so crazy about anymore and other tweaks that once took one click now seem to take several. Perhaps its a learning curve, but it’s hardly intuitive.

FINAL RATING: 2 out of 5. But it doesn’t mean people will leave. We will adapt, because facebook is something that many people enjoy and use. Every. Single. Day.

And that’s why I’m less interested in the cosmetic changes to facebook and more interested in what Zuckerberg & Co. will do to further ramp up the time we spend using the planet’s most popular social network.

This graph from All Things D that popped up on twitter last night tells a pretty amazing story, especially about facebook. We’ve read endless stories about how Zuckerberg wants to make facebook into the new Internet: where you share, shop for, consume and review everything from entertainment to food. Where you spend real money – and hours and hours of your time – living a virtual life that feels more and more real every day. And he has the platform and user base to do it.

The rumored launch of a facebook iPad app won’t hurt either; here’s Mashable’s post on that.

The trick will be, with the growing intricacies of the UI (User Interface), is to get the moms and the non-tecchies to do more than share pictures and click “like.”

What do you think?