Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Reason #471 Facebook drives me crazy

Why, oh why, does Facebook make things so difficult? For instance, in the last week, I discovered that I could post these blog entries directly to "My Notes" in Facebook by harvesting the RSS feed. How did I discover this? The easy to use walkthrough of Facebook when you sign up? Oh, that's right: doesn't exist. Ah, the helpful tips email Facebook sends? Um, no...that's not anywhere. Perhaps the "We noticed you are not using function X..." note from Facebook they sent me?, that's my imagination again. No, I learned about this from (sigh) Plaxo Pulse, as I was prompted to hook up yet another feed to my Plaxo Pulse profile and they'd take care of everything else, so you get great things like this:

Now, take the Facebook Photos application, for instance. You create a new album, and you get this:

"Location:" what the heck is that? Hyperlinked for easy help, or a tool tip on mouseover? Nope. Ah, the ever helpful (hidden) Help link in the bottom right. Ok, let's click on it. What do we get? Standard help landing screen. After some navigation, we get to the help for Facebook Photos...and the helpful details are:

Um...where's the explanation for Location? Can I link to a photo on my website, or is that for flagging the location where the photo was taken? Nothing.

This type of poor quality and unintuitive use drives me bonkers. Hey, I'm fine with 3rd party apps replacing Facebook's own, especially if they HAVE documentation or are intuitive; just don't foist poor quality versions on me by default. With the Open Social or Plaxo approach, you simply don't have these problems: you use the apps of your choice, and are directed to them for you to automatically build your profile.

From the exponential growth I have seen in Plaxo Pulse in the last 2 weeks, and the Open Social alliance, it seems I am not alone at recognizing that Facebook's limitations are quickly getting exposed. Time to take some of that warchest and spend it on divesting the anchors that will keep it in place, while others zoom past.

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