It seems that every month or so Facebook makes a slight change. We grumble, complain, and eventually move on. Last month, at F8, the social network announced a major redesign of their site and two women, Amanda Wernick and Kristl Huffman, proclaimed enough is enough and quit the network.
Amanda and Kristl have been online since the early days of the Internet and spent a great amount of time on Facebook checking their newsfeed, connecting with friends, and posting several times daily. Wernick is a prominent realtor in Orange County, CA and Huffman is a self described Alaskan knitter and blogs online on a broad range of subjects. After the F8 announcement, each made a difficult decision to give up the beloved social network and warned their friends they would be leaving.
Their reasons for leaving echo the concerns of many users. “The entire interface started to feel more complicated and less straight-forward than it used to be. In addition, the changes made the entire experience incredibly UN-user-friendly,” says Huffman. While Wernick felt Facebook had a “blatant disregard for the community they served.” Neither felt that Facebook cared about their user base and what they might want to see from a network they loved. After polling a few users on Facebook, it was discovered that Facebook should perhaps hold user discussions or conduct focus groups based on their product. This would be one way to ensure that the user voice is heard. Other users suggested that Facebook leave their site design alone for a while so that people could adjust to one change before having to re-train themselves on something new.
So where can you find Amanda and Kristl today? Each left for Twitter and Google+. Is this the beginning of a mass exodus to Google+ much like the days of MySpace? It’s still too early to tell but both feel Google+ offers a no nonsense platform that is simple to learn and most importantly, user friendly. While Facebook is a more intimate experience with who you choose to friend, Google+ is a public platform that allows you to reach hundreds and thousands of people thus allowing you to make connections far and wide. Huffman says “It’s almost like sitting down for dinner with friends and friends-of-friends in an out-of-the-way fun cafe, and suddenly something brings the entire customer base of the cafe together for one stunning moment. Everyone is talking, everyone is sharing, everyone is together, communicating across political party lines, across massive distances, across continents, and trans-continental distances. It’s BEAUTIFUL.” Follow Amanda Wernick on Twitter and Google+ and Kristl Huffman on Google+.
This isn’t to say that all Facebook users are willing and planning to abandon the social network for an alternative one. In fact, just yesterday Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove wrote about the declined traffic of Google+ since its much anticipated launch. Many current Facebook users have expressed that since they have invested so much time in building their profile (posting statuses, pictures, comments, holding conversations with friends, networking, etc.) that it would be difficult to simply walk away. Another concern that has been voiced is that people are, and stay on, Facebook because all of their friends, family, etc. are on Facebook. It’s hard to connect on a network when you don’t know anyone else on it.
But these are just two user’s stories about where they have chosen for their online personas to live. What are your thoughts on the recent F8 announcements? Have you left one social network for another or are you riding out the storm?