Friday, September 30, 2011

How to not stress out about the new Facebook changes

Take the fact that Facebook has become such a part of our culture, add to it that change is generally hated by all, and what comes out to the right of the equal sign is an understanding of why people get worked up when the site gets an overhaul. The fact that Facebook has been branded as not respecting poeple's privacy doesn't help clear up the perfect storm. Last week the site made changes to the Home page, Mark Z then introduced us to the new Timeline profiles, and these changes were followed up by either praise or rather loud complaint. 

For those crying mutiny - take heart, you can survive this wave of changes! Here are some things to consider:

1. Have a proper perspective on internet privacy: 
Privacy is a huge issue. This is why it needs to be understood that the internet has a perfect memory. What happens in Vegas no longer stays there, not when your friends have an iPhone or Droid. The very nature of the internet is to allow people into your business. If you don't want people to see your pictures, read your thoughts, be able to criticize or comment on your whereabouts - don't use social media! That is the ONLY way to prevent these things. Period. No amount of privacy settings will allow you to be a private person. If that's what you want to be, don't have a Facebook account.
2. Understand the changes before reacting:  
What's been interesting to me is that as Facebook rolls out new changes, be they features or how information is shared, people react instead of responding. We hear change and complain, rather than understand and respond. Facebook is rolling out how information is shared, but all you have to do is go in and tweak your preferences on what you do or don't want shared. It would take 5minutes or less. Someone might say, "I shouldn't have to do that! I want it to be the way it always ways! I shouldn't have to figure it out! I don't want to have to make changes!" I'm not trying to be rude in saying this, just honest, those statements really aren't about Facebook. They say more about you. Take that in stride, but consider it.

3. Take a deep breath and make a couple tweaks:  
Now the above being said, you should be able to and can protect your information to varying degrees. Internet banking wouldn't be possible if there weren't actual safeguards. Safety is one of our basic human needs, thank you very much Dr. Maslow, and this holds true in social media. You can share as much as you want on Facebook - just go in and make the privacy tweaks. Here are a few Mashable articles that can help in understanding the changes and how to personalize your privacy settings:
4. Roll with it or roll on: 
This post isn't being written because I'm a huge Facebook fanboy. Actually, if forced to only use one social media outlet I would choose Twitter. But personally, I do like the new Facebook, especially Timeline. Here is my profile page within the new look (click on image to enlarge):

How did I get the new profile already? By doing this: How to enable the New Facebook timeline now.

Things I like:
  • The new large banner across the top and smaller image to left. Allows for more creativity and visual options.
  • How your basic information, friends, photo, maps, likes are all displayed below the banner. It gives an instant snapshot that isn't cluttered.
  • The timeline on the right. LOVE this - that you can click on a year and instantly get back to old posts. How instantly things get lost into the past has always frustrated me about social media, and this fixes that.
  • The incorporation of Spotify
Things I dislike:
  • The two column layout. If anything makes the new look less simplistic it is this.
  • Smart Lists. When you accept or add a friend they are now automatically added to a Smart List, and you aren't given the option to add them to one of your custom lists. I don't mind the Smart List thing, but I don't like not having that instant option to add people to one of my own lists.
Your lists of dislikes might be huge. And that is totally OK. Easiest solution? Delete your Facebook account. Try Twitter or Google+. Personally, I think Google+ is awesome. But at some point you have to ask yourself - do you really want to put a ton of energy into complaining about something? Either roll with, tweak it, or move on. Those really are the options. 

Now, I'd feel amiss if I didn't add one more thing: This post isn't just about Facebook changes. 

Like stated above, we all hate change...of ANY kind. A lot of time when change comes people have one of two default responses: complain or leave. There are all kinds of reasons for both options, but the things I've laid out above to consider about Facebook really apply to any aspect of life that will bring change:
  • Get a proper perspective on what is happening
  • Understand the changes before responding
  • Take a deep breath and make adjustments
  • Roll with it or roll on
Life is like my son's diapers - change is of utmost necessity: for peace, for growth, for community, for opportunity. It's hard to embrace change, but those who do are better off for it.

Maybe the new Facebook changes can be an easy opportunity to practice embracing change for good.

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