My Thoughts on the Revolt Against the Facebook Redesign (from the guy who started the first revolt)

It’s shocking how much things can change in two years.

Two years ago, Facebook launched a feature called News Feed, which allows you to see what you’re friends are up to without having to visit all of their profiles. When it first launched on September 5th, 2006, I hated it. So I created Students Against Facebook News Feed that morning to protest it.

The News Feed revolt was the result.

I hated it.
I really did. So I fought, and others fought with me. And we got our wish, I had the chance to talk to Facebook CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg, and life went on.

Now, two years later, the same revolt has begun against the new Facebook profile redesign.

I’ve already been asked a few times where I stand. So I thought I would blog about how I feel about it publicly.

First of all, I don’t think news feed is an invasion of privacy anymore. You can read my Mashable article on the subject of social media and privacy, but I’ll give you the jist:

Change is good. And change makes us angry.

The current Facebook design is a great design, but it can no longer contain the needs of its users. The users don’t quite understand that, but Facebook does.

Facebook has been migrating towards a more open stream of information – that’s why your feed and your wall are the first thing you see when you look at a new profile. This is a way to a more social, more interactive, more person-based future. And with all of the new features Facebook wants to implement to accomplish that goal, it can’t keep the old design around.

Designing features for two designs is simply a nightmare. Just ask ANYONE who has to design for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and the dreaded Internet Explorer 6.

So to the members of Petition Against the “New Facebook” and the many other petition groups on Facebook, here’s what I have to say:

  • I am proud of all of you for taking a stand. People may not think it’s an important cause and that you’re just complainers, but they are dead wrong. You’re trying to improve something that’s an integral part of many of our lives. There is nothing insignificant about that.
  • Facebook’s listening, I assure you. I know that better than anyone.
  • But understand what Facebook is trying to do. Facebook cannot continue to grow and improve for the future without the new design. It cannot easily make features for both designs.
  • We didn’t like News Feed when it was first released. But can you imagine Facebook without it now? It has changed our lives, hell, the lives of millions on the Internet for the better. It helped paved the way for awesome services like FriendFeed and Twitter. Taking risks and trying new things tends to be a win-win in the end
  • I hope you will stay on Facebook and give it time, even when Facebook does switch over. I’m not going to promise that it will grow on you, but that giving it a chance may surprise you.