I’ve been watching as the uproar over Facebook’s changes infiltrates all the digital aspects of my life. #NewFacebook trended on Twitter, and my Facebook feed was filled with complaint-filled status updates. But even before Mark Zuckerberg held his most recent press conference, I was trying to figure out what was happening with small changes happening in the days before. (I’m still unsure about all these new groups–I liked it better when I just blocked people.) Still, I reserved comment–even when our former editorial assistant sent me a link about the new “Timeline” which is terrifying.
Facebook is, after all, a free tool that we have no obligation to use, but makes life more convenient in myriad ways. What right do we even have to complain? But then the #NewFacebook jumped from my digital life to my real life. On Saturday I was moving into a new house after many, many delays. My family mysteriously disappeared with a variety of excuses, while my friend, Melissa, and I continued to hunt through boxes in search of my utensils. Suddenly I heard banging on my door and horns honking outside. When I went to see what the hub-bub was about I found my friends and family bearing ice cream cake, food, gifts, and lots of booze.
This was all made possible by Facebook.
About a month ago I’d been planning a party myself–complete with a Facebook invite–for my housewarming/30th birthday. When my closing got pushed back, I had to postpone indefinitely. That was when my best-friend, Allison, sprung into action. She called my mother and started sorting through my Facebook friends, creating an “event” where she hashed out the details of a party that kept getting pushed back and then pushed back some more. She did this with people that, in many cases, she’d never even met or barely knew. At one point she panicked, wondering if I could see the “Theresa’s Surprise 30th Birthday Party” event and instead changed the name to “Very Important.”
Apparently, a lot of Facebook messages were exchanged about the party. So there were plenty of people at my party talking about how the new layout confused them and they had to wonder “How do I unsubscribe to this conversation?” That was mostly the guys–the ladies didn’t mind all the planning.
As confused as many of them seemed to be by the changes, that wasn’t really the point. Allison managed to orchestrate a (complete and utter) surprise, and track down people she would not have otherwise had easy access to all because of Facebook. Instead of having to send out invitations and form a phone tree every time the party was postponed, she just sent out another Facebook message. It’s this convenience that keeps us all using the social media site to end all social media sites.
Timeline or no Timeline, Facebook is really about communicating easily and efficiently with just about everyone you know. That’s why we stick around.