Category Archives: Facebook

I can't get no (Facebook) satisfaction

I normally ignore all sponsored polls in the Facebook newsfeed and never see any adverts thanks to my browser add blocker, but this one was too interesting to ignore.  The question:

“How satisfied are you with the new Facebook redesign?”

The results:

 Fits in with the number of people who have signed up to Facebook groups demanding the return of the old version.

While I don’t particularly dislike the redesign, there are a few options I’d like to see changed:

  1. Status updates: they are automatically posted at a significantly larger font size.  You can alter the size of the font but you can’t change the default setting, unlike every other item that appears in the newsfeed,
  2. Wall: it’s no longer possible to only view messages from people via the wall, something that really needs to return
  3. Inability to minimise “applications” (they should be called widgets): I couldn’t care less about the majority of widgets people add to their profiles and the old design allowed me to minimise the majority so I could only see what I wanted to: that is no longer possible
  4. Tabs: it’s more time consuming to get access to the info I want as loading profile pages defaults to te “wall” tab…. why can’t everyone have the option to choose a different default page to load?  The info tab is far more useful.

I’ve already raised these points with Facebook though chances are they’ll be ignored: a generic reply doesn’t really give me much confidence, though I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t enough people to reply.  And it hasn’t cost me anything to use Facebook.

It’s certainly quieter than I’d expect it to be: possibly as most of my friends have now graduated and have better uses of their time.  However I don’t see myself abandoning Facebook soon: it’s too useful to communicate to the wider student radio community to ignore.

UPDATE: in the hour since I saw the poll results, it’s changed to 30%, 23%, 23%, 11%, 10% (from extremely dissatisfied to very satisfied).  Clearly relatively few people have taken the poll so I’ll update again once the numbers have settled down.

"Blocking" Facebook Chat

Have to give kudos to WordPress for this one.

I’ve been getting far more page views than usual on this blog and it all seems to be about my last post, where I discussed Facebook Chat.  WordPress allows me to see what people are searching for and about 40% of people who have visited my blog today searched for “blocking Facebook Chat” or a variation of those words.

So…

Facebook Chat

Since I don’t (yet) have the ability to upload images, I’ve taken this one from CNet News. The image above shows Facebook Chat, as it appears in the bottom right corner of the browser window, just above the browser status bar (if you have it switched on). All you need to do is click on the “Go Offline” button to close down Chat.

This doesn’t remove it completely and will replace the chat bar with a small icon in the bottom right.  So it won’t block it completely, but it will prevent people from contacting you using Facebook Chat and is effective.

As for blocking individual people, I haven’t found a way of doing that yet… which may give you a reason to stick with Windows Live Messenger!

Facebook Chat…. the end for Windows Live Messenger?

Perhaps a bit early to make such a big claim but it could be all change in the instant messaging market.

I know plenty of people who use instant messaging: Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger) being the app of choice.  But I do know one person who has never been convinced: me.

I used MSN Messenger a fair bit when I started university but I only used it to speak to 7 people tops.  I’ve since switched to making phone calls.

But there have been two recent announcements that could change that.

  1. Microsoft announcing the launch of Invite2Messenger, a simple website that allows people to add Facebook contacts (more contact lists will be added in the future) and invite them to use Windows Live Messenger.  Based on 2006 figures (the most recent I could find), Windows Live/MSN Messenger (WLM) has a 61% market share.  I would expect this to increase slightly but more importantly it will connect people who aren’t aware that their Facebook friends are available on IM, sending more web traffic to Microsoft.
  2. Just 11 days after I read about Microsoft’s announcement, Facebook countered with Facebook Chat.  This will integrate an IM client into the web browser and allow people to start conversations without launching a separate app: a big speed advantage.  But although officially announced on the Facebook Blog, it’s not yet available.

It’s difficult to decide who has the upper hand.

The Facebook app has clear advantages: it’s one less application that people need, assuming of course that they don’t already use WLM, AIM, Yahoo Messenger or another IM app: and Yahoo Messenger and WLM users can already add friends who use the other app.  Google Talk requires a Google account, something people probably won’t have unless they use Gmail: and how many people want to send instant messages when they are trying to send emails?  I remain unconvinced.

But Microsoft already has more than half of the IM market and will certainly gain new users: perhaps not many but enough to make a difference and while I doubt many people will switch from one IM client to another, if people are invited to use WLM it’s unlikely they will shop around to look at the alternatives.  And, in the short term at least, WLM is available to use in minutes, whereas Facebook Chat is still to launch.

So what’s the likely outcome?  It’s difficult to predict: Facebook isn’t used by everyone, far from it.  I’d expect it to make a difference but I think most people will stick with what they know.

As for me: well I have just 11 contacts on WLM and all of them have Facebook accounts.  I also dislike the huge amount of advertising on WLM, which I can’t completely block and isn’t even for things I’d spend money on: I can easily block all adverts when web browsing.  

I think the choice, for me at least, is pretty obvious…