It’s been a year since Facebook went public with a Developer roadmap which signalled a shift away from third-party app integration and increased importance on the Home Page news feed. Last October, the Facebook home page news feed went real-time, significantly altering the user experience to focus primarily on the Home Page, as opposed to profiles or third-party applications.
The latest platform change “coming soon” is a bigger blow to the personalization of the profile page. In the past months, we’ve seen all kinds of irritating warnings that Facebook would soon strip application Profile Boxes and to move these boxes to the tab bar. Now, these tabs are the next casualty.
This is unfortunate in that it limits not only the personalization of ones profile but also the effectiveness of calls-to-action that benefit from users adding custom tabs to profiles as if they were virtual lawn signs. I proudly display a “No on 23” tab in my profile (direct link), so friends and anyone else who lands on my profile page can learn more about an important proposition on the California ballot next Tuesday. It’s alongside two other tabs that are “soon” to be pulled by Facebook: Goodreads and Last.fm — services I use to track the books I read and music I listen to (respectively). I don’t care (or know) if many visitors to my profile even notice these tabs or take interest, however, it adds value as it’s an intricate part of getting to know me. Sure, books and artists that I have “liked” are listed in my profile, but there is nothing live or temporal about that data other than when (in real-time) I click like and it reverberates through my network via the news feed for 24 hours or so.
I’m betting that you also like the ability to integrate 3rd-party applications and services into your Facebook experience and as tabs or boxes on your profile page. Again this is not a sudden occurrence, we were warned a year ago, and more recently applications which depended almost exclusively on the Facebook Platform, such as Causes and Zimride, have gone entirely standalone.
Does Facebook have something in mind to replace this experience or do we just have to learn to accept a more dumbed-down, walled-in Facebook from here on out? What’s next for Facebook application campaigns based on profile tab proliferation, such as those created by PopRule and others?
It’s really just another lesson in why you should never but an exact public date on a launch. Of course in this case it’s the date for a “disappearance” or removal, but as I predicted last month and as has occurred in the past, Facebook is once again guilty of writing threats on innocent people’s walls and then neither following up on them, nor cleaning up.
Without meaning to be too critical — I’m just sayin’. And, as long as I can have this badge on my wall it would be nice if my friends could still use it to click through and learn more about the, uh, Cause!
Apps like Cow Clicker would seem to be proof enough that the Facebook application marketplace is ridiculously oversaturated, but no — even Facebook itself can’t seem to keep up with the glut of apps old and new.
Every few weeks I come across a Facebook App on my profile, a page, or elsewhere, that is littered with red ink. The most popular splotch tends to be the warning that the iLike player (also known as the Facebook music player in spite of being acquired by MySpace last year) will soon disappear from your profile page. It’s said that for almost a year and… nothing.
Now it’s Causes, a platform that has grown with Facebook from the start. (Causes co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker apparently plays a prominent role in the forthcoming Facebook movie – Justin Timberlake plays the part.)
Whether or not the profile box really disappears in a couple weeks likely won’t upset anyone too much, however, the ugliness of the red tape over the badge (and the persistence of the iLike warning) ain’t pretty. And what’s with covering the actual cause campaign with a “Keep Causes on Your Profile” badge? It only instructs the user to add a tab. Essentially this means that eventually…. we might be looking at forced scarcity of apps that we can include on the main page of our profile. We’ll just have to wait and find out.
Have you seen other apps out there with similar “red tape” or red ink that never seem to go away?
A couple weeks ago I wrote about Eventbrite’s new partnership with Facebook and the integration of Eventbrite in Facebook’s event module. Perhaps it’s proof that I’m on Facebook too often — hey, it’s part of my job 😉 — but I tend to notice little design changes and UI tweaks before they are official. Either that or they’re just using me as an unknowing tester since I’m a willing loudmouth always willing to take the Beta.
Missed connection? Bad match? Most likely a rushed launch resulting in too much confusion. At least they’ll email me. EMAIL ME! About as far as a Facebook relationship as one can get. But, c’mon! I’ve got an event to post and I’m gonna post it up now…