Facebook is completely revamping its layout and functionality in, what some say, is much needed to remain a viable social networking platform, while many others are disappointed or at best consider it a mixed blessing. Whatever the reason, fact is that there is a huge opposition against this move. For instance, just now the group "Petitition Against the New Facebook" had 342,839 members, and counting...
Of course, the redesign does result in some real improvements as well. However, what really seems to irk users most is the unilateral decision to totally remove the old profile as an option.
Here's my statement in the Petition Group:
I am the project leader of the implementation of a university student portal. Portals are very hard to develop, as there are many conflicting requirements and interests to satisfy. However, we are doing our very best to consult students: we use focus groups; a suggestion form, with automatic public display of all suggestions collected; have done an extensive user survey among students; regularly report feedback results, our design choices and motivations to a public blog etc.
Frankly, I am outraged by the insensitivity displayed by Facebook management. They are in their position of power solely because of their users. Their users have often spent much time and energy building their profiles, which are their unique "social windows" to their friends distributed all over the world. Given the amount of resistance, just "undoing" these profiles is incomprehensible.
Don't just join this group, sign the petition to protest this 1950s management attitude in a 21st century digital world!
I find it hard to understand how Facebook is totally ignoring the often very legitimate concerns so many of its users have with the - forced - changes. This lack of legitimacy goes against the grain of community-driven development, which is a necessary condition for social networking sites to grow and prosper. It will be interesting to see how this develops, whether the power ultimately is really with management or the community.