From the ages of 12 to 14 years old, I begged my mom relentlessly to allow me a MySpace account. She would turn down every argument I could possibly make in favor of her giving me an account. I even offered to give her my password so she would be able to keep tabs on what I was doing. Her suggestion, make a Facebook account.
My mom was on Facebook years before I finally made one. If she realized what the site could actually do she probably would have been able to sell me on it, but seven years ago everyone had a MySpace, and the teenaged me wanted to be just like everyone else. My mom finally relented to my constant pleading and let me have my MySpace, but I abandoned it two years later in favor of my shiny new Facebook account.
Since I made the difficult switch from MySpace to Facebook I have found my virtual world expanded in a way that I never before thought possible. Sure, I missed the customizable aspect of MySpace (who I still credit with forcing me to learn minimal HTML skills) but Facebook gave me the opportunity to expand my social horizons.
When I had MySpace my friend count was around 200 people, tops. That may have just been the limitation of my middle-school social sphere but I can also attribute my low friend count to the difficulty of finding people. Facebook made it so easy to track down and add friends and in no time I was able to connect with people across the web.
I cannot imagine what my life would be like without Facebook. It has become so much a part of my daily routine. When I turn on my computer and go online the first three tabs open are UC Irvine email, Yahoo email and my Facebook page. Even if I am just popping online to Google a quick fact I always find myself on Facebook.
The problem with Facebook is that it updates so often. The corporate creative team believes they are doing users a service by streamlining the Facebook experience but what they have not stopped to realize is how attached people truly are to Facebook and when something becomes intrinsic to your daily routine even the slightest change can make users go mad.
Imagine this scenario: You wake up one morning to find that everything in your room has suddenly been upgraded to the latest new thing. Your second reaction (the first being shock) is excitement at the prospect of trying out the stuff. However, this stuff functions very differently from the old stuff, and it takes you hours to figure out how it works to the point where the upgrade has lost its luster.
This is what a Facebook upgrade feels like. At first glance it is exciting and interesting, but trying to navigate through the changes is tedious. You do not want to spend your time figuring out how to update your status, all you really want is to update it.. By the time you get used to the new version a new one makes you start all over again.
I do not mind Facebook upgrades as much as my peers. That may just be because I do not bother to find out what they can do. As long as I can locate my status within the first minute of being online, I am fine. I actually came to terms with upgrades long ago and know there is nothing I can do to stop it.
Yet the threat of new things still frightens me. I worry that the more streamlined and confusing Facebook gets the harder it will be to connect with others.
The most recent update sent my news feed into a frenzy. It seems that this upgrade was not the best move for Facebook but their logic was not wrong. They are now competing with Google+, and wanted to make Facebook seem like the better option. However, within hours of the new Facebook being revealed, Google+ itself made their new social networking sight public and my news feed was cluttered with people posting their new profiles.
I was not so quick to turn. The new social media site frightened me just as much as the upgrade. I still feel comfortable with Facebook and, because I have no Gmail account or connection to the company besides a search engine, I do not feel the need to make the switch (yet).
There may come a time when everyone swears by Google+ and it is as ingrained in our daily routine as Facebook is today. But until Google can make their site more user-friendly for those of us without a Gmail account and allows me to keep all of the connections I have made on Facebook, I will not make the switch. Facebook may be updating into oblivion but I will stick by those updates for as long as I can.
Sara Naor is a second-year film and media studies major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.