With half the UK population using Facebook, it’s easy to find an opinion on whether the upcoming change over in style/layout to Timeline is a good thing. Even a quick search of the web reveals a huge amount of negative opinion being directed against the new format.
One small group of developers has a solution, and it seems that Facebook’s not happy.
KitGuru hits ‘Dislike’ on Timeline and heads over to the T-Remove page on Facebook.
Getting grannies to share pics is simple enough. Facebook has exploded through regular society with little/no effort.
Getting itself taken seriously as a business tool was a little more difficult. Many companies are run by old farts who managed to get to the top job in the old-world-ecosystem, so they have little interest in changing an environment which worked so well for them. To get around this, Facebook seems to have something akin to a ‘developer tool kit’ which allows for customisation for businesses.
So far, so good. Now where does Facebook get nasty?
Timeline is facebook’s plan to completely change the interface that has made it the second biggest site in the world. Naturally, that kind of change is going to create controversy. Without interviewing Facebook’s board using sodium pentothal, there’s always going to be an amount of conjecture as to why the change was thought necessary. Our money is on ‘something to do with server configurations and the chronicles of older Facebook data’ – but what do we know.
Certainly, nothing else Facebook is likely to do will have such an impact on its market position. The people who have built Facebook to where it is right now (Er, us), feel invested in the brand. We identify with it.
Change the interface and we either lose that investment – or we accept that the ‘thing we want’ can come in more than one shape/size/colour.
Once humans understand that many variations on a theme can provide the same experience, the door is opened to the competition. No wonder Murdoch and co are revisiting MySpace.
While many users will move straight across to Facebook Timeline with no problem at all, millions more will not move until you put a gun at their head and threaten them.
Remember we started by talking about Facebook’s ability to be adjusted for corporate users – to integrate tighter into their existing business web sites? Well some clever chaps over in India (T-Remove) look to have taken the development tool and created something a little special.
The original Facebook.
How popular was it? Well, from what we can tell, around 50,000 people installed the ‘upgrade’ back to pre-Timeline and clicked ‘Like’ on the Anti-Timeline guys’ Facebook page.
The profile was deleted with no communication, even though it claims not to have violated any of Facebook’s rules.
The anti-Timeline developers then recreated the experience, with a new profile.
They now claim to have had an additional 100,000 people go for ‘The Original Facebook’ and then click like on the anti-Timeline brigade’s new profile.
With Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft pushed to get an interface that looked more like Apple. What happened? People moved in droves to Apple OS. Users are a bunch of old dogs that don’t want to learn new tricks – change interfaces at your peril. If you’re not sure about the T-Remove chaps, then we can suggest that you set up a dummy account, choose Facebook Timeline and then apply the T-Remove solution to see what happens. Remember, we’re not recommending you use it – just highlighting some questionable behaviour from Facebook and some community efforts to get around the draconian introduction of Timeline.
KitGuru says: This situation raises some key questions, including (1) How many people have to scream “NO to Timeline!” at Facebook before the faceless multinational actually listens to its customers and (2) Will we experience another Orwellian deletion of the Anti-Timeline developers page ? Believe us, we’ll be watching. Censorship on the web is dangerous. Believe us, we’ll be watching.
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