I started using Facebook October 3, 2005. (Man, that was a long time ago.) When I began using it, the newsfeed didn’t exist, and people actually carried on conversations by writing back and forth on each others’ walls. We also tended to decorate our profile pages with weird games and buttons. My memory of those days is actually a little fuzzy.
As the months and years passed, the site got better. It got more useful. But it also frustrated some users because it seemed that Zuckerberg and pals rolled out changes every month or so. Some people didn’t like the constant changes. I actually heard one guy complain that he hated the newsfeed. He didn’t want people to see when he posted things. I didn’t get that. I still don’t. Why post something if you hope no one sees it?
Even though the updates came too frequently in those early days, they never bothered me. I always felt that the site was getting better.
But over the last year or so, I’ve lost faith in Facebook. I still use the site for more minutes a day than is good for me, but I don’t really like it anymore.
I feel like I’m being played by an algorithm.
Facebook’s content filtering started to annoy me around the middle of last year. I kept seeing the same stories pop up over and over again. I began sorting my newsfeed by “most recent” instead of “top stories” so that I could actually see something interesting, but Facebook seems to change my preference back to “top stories” every now and then. I change it back when I notice.
Recently I found this video that expresses some of the same frustration that I’ve been feeling with Facebook.
The guy in the video has given this issue some careful thought. He’s looking at the problem from the stance of a content creator rather than a content consumer, but he’s got a point in that on Facebook we’re all both.
It really boils down to this—for the last year or so, I’ve felt like my relationship with Facebook has changed. I don’t feel like I use Facebook anymore. I think it uses me.