After years of user complaints about site redesigns and new features, Facebook has figured out ways to minimize damage with its latest overhaul, Open Graph. Yesterday evening, Facebook introduced a feature that will change the way we Facebook, as we noted the other day. Adding new verbs to the mix, Facebook now asks users to (frictionlessly) share all of their actions, including cooking (Foodspotting), running (Nike+) and pinning (Pinterest), to name a few. This will get in the way of the News Feed and requires all users to have Timeline, another big change. But, there's not much outrage from the blogger masses, who have taken to civilized discussion about Open Graph's utility and meaning.
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For this one, Facebook had two challenges to overcome, Timeline and these new apps, as Facebook wants both features to work in tandem to document users' entire lives. (Fun!) But having made the announcement back in September at its F8 conference, Facebook got the Internet rage out of the way months ago. All the grumblers already made their points back then. Remember that Slate piece Facebook's Terrible Plan to Get Us to Share Everything We Do on the Web? Or, re: Timeline, there was a whole genre of "nobody wants to chronicle their entire lives on Facebook" arguments. But that was back in September. Months later, critics have either gotten used to the idea of change, or can't bring themselves to make the same points again.
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After letting the idea marinate, Facebook did a very slow, paced rollout of Timeline and apps. As soon as the announcement came in September, those with a little Internet savvy could activate the Timeline immediately. Also at that time, Facebook introduced a select few verb-related apps, including Spotify and The Washington Post reader. There were some hiccups with Spotify, as users wanted an option to not share all music, but again, Facebook got that out of the way before today's wide release of 60 apps. Then, waiting a few months, Facebook tested the Timeline on the small market of New Zealand in December before a slow world-wide rollout in early January, giving users a week-long period to get used to and design the new interface. In other words, Facebook gave its users a very long time to get used to the idea. It seems to have worked.
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Of course, the naysayers have taken to the comments below Facebook's introductory post. But trolls will be trolls. And, it doesn't look like these people have stopped using the site in protest, as they are commenting via Facebook and the site continues to grow, with 800 million users today.
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Below Facebook explains how Open Graph will not only change Facebook, but one's life. The idea that Facebook apps will motivate our workout schedules and dinner choices might take some getting used to. But, Facebook's not forcing it.
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