My Thoughts on the Facebook Changes…

I have written several message board posts, and probably blog posts for that matter, on being a good “guest” in someone’s “home.” By home, I am referring to a blog, message board, or some other place where people are welcomed to enjoy a person or organization’s cyber-hospitality. I consider it rude to show up on someone’s blog and complain about the graphics, the music, or the inability to comment in order to win a prize on said blog. It is rude to attack the thoughts of the blog person. To discuss different opinions when invited– sure! I think that’s perfectly acceptable. However, when a woman posts her birth story to share with friends and family and one person thinks it is ok to bash her for having been so stupid as to allow xyz intervention or for NOT having xyz intervention, that’s just poor manners. You don’t go into someone’s home, enjoy the conversation, the refreshments, and then inform her that she is wrong to offer margarine rather than butter. It’s wrong to tell her that her music choices are substandard or that she really should update the fixtures in the bathroom.Well, the same is true of a blog, message board, or similar things.

Now, people who know me know two things about me.

1. I despise music on blogs. If I click on a blog and there is music, 99.9% of the time, I will click the back button so fast it isn’t funny.

2. I cannot consistently post comments on blogger blogs. I do not like blogger. To get a comment to go through usually takes half a dozen tries if it appears at all. It’s very discouraging. I want to comment– and can’t.

Now, how do people know this about me if it’s rude to complain about the hospitality offered? Well, because they asked! The truth is that if you ask my opinion, you’d better want it. I’m not going to pretend to like what I don’t when you’re asking what I think. However, I’m not going to offer it, unsolicited, as a general rule (I am sure the occasion exists when I might– I just can’t think of one.)

So, with this opinion, you’d think I’m opposed to complaining about the recent (and past) Facebook changes. Well, at first I was. At first it really did seem as if it was being an ungracious guest. I think I’ve even posted about it. I disagree with that now. Sometime around the last change, it occurred to me that Facebook isn’t a charity. It isn’t someone’s home. They aren’t inviting us in as guests. They are making money from us– if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be there. Facebook is not in the business of providing hospitality to the world without receiving an income from it. They are a multi-billion dollar COMPANY. Because of this, objecting to changes in the service they provide is, in my opinion, a legitimate activity.

There is nothing wrong with me telling Wal-mart that I think cutting back the craft’s department is a bad idea. There’s nothing wrong with me writing Taco Bell to tell them I am unhappy with my Strawberry Fruitista tasting like a strawberry pina-colada one. If I wanted that combo, I would have ordered it. There’s nothing wrong with requesting a store carry certain items and there’s nothing wrong with requesting that they NOT carry them.  There are stores I do not shop in due to poor customer service or my unwillingness to spend my dollars there.

The same is true of Facebook. I do not like the new format. In fact, I dislike it so much that I intend to settle into Google+ unless Facebook rids itself of the obnoxious things it has implemented OR gives me the option to opt out. I know of many others who are considering the same thing. With that in mind, I think it is only RIGHT to let Facebook know of our displeasure. Facebook is an odd sort of interface though. The shell.. the bulk of it is a company and as such, we are the consumers. However, within that company, there are little mini-entities. Almost like, forgive the redneck analogy, Facebook is a trailer park and each member is a trailer. Inside our individual trailers, we feel free to express our opinions, but we don’t expect our friends to come over and attack us. In that sense, our “wall” is more like a blog than a part of a company. Because of that, when I disagree with someone on Facebook, I do try to keep it to the kind of conversational disagreement I’d feel free to have with them in their home. Because my wall is my own “abode” within the “park” of Facebook, I feel free to express my opinion of how the park managers are running the place. I’ve voiced my complaints with them, and now I may wish to talk about it with friends. I won’t go to their wall and attack them for liking the new setup. I hope they show me the same courtesy if they hear me say, in my house, that I don’t like it.

So, what is all this rambling really about? It’s about me saying that I understand that some like the new things and others don’t. For those who do, please allow those of us who don’t, the privilege of expressing our own opinions in our own little corners of Facebook. For those who don’t, let’s show the same courtesy towards those who do. Attacking someone for their preferences on their wall is just rude. And complaining about the services offered by a company in the business of trying to make a profit is not a rejection of benevolent hospitality. It’s just good business for them to consider our likes and dislikes and they can’t do that if we don’t express them.

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