My problem with Facebook Home isn’t that it’s a dumb idea or that it’s used poorly in practice, but rather that Facebook simply isn’t like that for me or numerous other people. The idea behind Facebook is to help you connect with people that you deem “friends,” enabling you to see what they’ve been up to in their lives. This sounds perfect for most people, but if you’ve been using Facebook for more than a few days, you come to realize that it’s not that clean cut of a system.
Facebook Home is meant to be a way for you to catch up with old friends and family by seeing information about their daily lives. You’re supposed to be able to see that Clara went to a birthday party for her nephew, Jason went to a play this past weekend with his girlfriend, and Sophie was involved in creating something amazing for Pixar. These kinds of updates are what Facebook thinks inhabit their ecosystem of a social network, but Facebook Home as an entire platform can’t work for the average person.
For example, my timeline is very clean, but it’s rarely (if ever) populated with images of cool activities or photographs that have been aesthetically thought through and taken with quality cameras. The type of timeline I have is covered with text or news updates. On top of that, my Facebook feed has the occasional meme pic that I’m sure everyone has to deal with. Facebook is used differently for an array of people, but this dream Facebook that is portrayed in the social network’s commercials must be something that only exists for a small number of people.
When thinking about the commercials themselves, they portray Home as something that you take quick glances at, and those quick glances help you dwell in the community in which your friends live. That’s fun and interesting to see, but it doesn’t really work that way. My problem is that if I were to get a Facebook Home enabled phone, I would only be able to see a status similar to the ones in commercials maybe once a week or every few days. I want the Facebook that is portrayed in the ads because Facebook Home is an intelligent and thoughtful approach to the social network that people desire, but it’s not doing a good job of making it useful to those people who ideally want to capture its meaning.
With Facebook’s approach to this, they seemingly got stuck in the mode that using Facebook is an experience in and of itself, that opening Facebook is all about seeing vibrant pictures from friends and not just small text updates here and there. Between the friends that upload small pictures with horrible resolutions or those people who take crappy cellphone pictures while drinking at a basement party, this dream of Facebook is slowly turned into a nightmare. This is a problem I have, but it’s one that I think the majority of people also deal with. You don’t see these happy and fun updates from more than a handful of your friends, but between the hundreds of others, you see things that aren’t favored. It’s not really a fault of Facebook Home, but rather one of Facebook itself that hasn’t had any help in changing. My feed is fine. I see updates from friends I haven’t seen in awhile, I keep up on news about the Ravens, technology, and all sorts of things. The one problem is that the Facebook app serves me a better use of Facebook than Facebook Home possibly could.
Facebook Home is something that could be great if it fully fell into its dreams and ideas. People are already leaving Facebook because they’re not fond of their “friends” from high school posting pictures of battered dogs in hopes of raising awareness about animal abuse. Or they’re not cool with meme pics of people saying “O RLY?” all the time. To be perfectly clear, this is a fault of the user. The user has the choice of who to be friends with, who to block, who to hide, so on and so forth, but the problem arises when Facebook thinks that Facebook is used in the way that the commercials display. Facebook is practically one of the only sites that I visit solely to make sure that I can be updated on real life. I can contact old friends and invite them to lunch. I can keep up with what Bradley’s been doing since he went to college. I can make sure that everything is still okay with friends who were sick recently. It’s real life at my fingertips, and I love it for that, but this constant flow of captioned pictures and engaging comments doesn’t exist for more than a few people. I want Facebook Home, but I want it to be real rather than a dream.