By Allan Maurer
Facebook users don’t much care for its Timeline feature, which it touted much the way Steve Jobs did the first iPad.
A new study from Attensity, a provider of social analytics and engagement applications, says the results of its analysis of public reaction in social media to the new Facebook Timeline format for profile pages, shows an overwhelmingly negative reaction to the Timeline feature.
Using Attensity Analyze, the company’s social analytics application, it processed 138,572 public comments posted on Facebook, Twitter and blogs over a six-week period. The results, revealed that 93 percent of comments contain negative sentiment toward Timeline
Shocked by the degree of frustration
“We were rather shocked at the degree of frustration expressed by Facebook users toward the new Timeline format,” said Rebecca MacDonald, vice president of marketing at Attensity. “We knew from anecdotal evidence that many users —both individuals and businesses— were unhappy with it, but the results generated by Attensity Analyze show a degree of negative sentiment we hadn’t anticipated, given that Facebook is still in the process of rolling out Timeline to individual users.”
I heard the lamentations of some of my Facebook friends, who heartily disliked Timeline from the start, but like many of us seem to be just ignoring it now.
Facebook has a history of forcing changes on its users, who conveniently provide all of its content and all those people marketers want to target.
But your opinion apparently does not matter to Facebook. You can’t choose not to use it’s Timeline.
We know what’s best, like it or not
The attitude of many free online services and social networks seems to be, “We’ll give you what we think is right for you regardless of what you want.”
Facebook is not alone in this. Google is forcing its misquided ultra stark brilliant white glare model of internet design on your eyes across all its properties. Whether you want it or not, you’re going to enjoy Larry Page’s idea of how the web should look.
Google apparently believes it can do no wrong and this ugly, glaring, eye-pain of a design just suits everyone whether they care for it or not. Google+ – which I like personally – gets almost daily complaints from photographers about the black bars it inserts like the TV letterbox format next to photos that don’t fill the frame. It’s another ugly solution.
But you and I don’t get a say that matters. You may complain, but the new web business method seems to be:
SHOVE IT DOWN THEIR THROAT!
The millions and billions of people using our services will just quietly accept whatever we tell them to.
You shouldn’t have any say in the look and feel and design and usefulness of the services we provide, just because we’re all making billions of dollars from your content, searches, game playing and daily interactions, that doesn’t mean we think you actually should decide anything.
You’re a dollar sign to us.
We decide what’s best for you.
Welcome to Big Brother. He’s waiting to take you in his big welcoming arms. He’ll decide everything for you. Just sit back and relax.
Mark Zukerberg and Larry Page and lots of other technorati know what’s best for you.
Sit back, take what they tell you to.
Privacy? That’s an outdated concept. Share everything with everyone.
That makes it so much easier for us to market to you. We can’t make money selling your information to anyone who pays if you hold it back. Share! We’ll protect your privacy. Except when it’s to our financial advantage not to.
When you set up social sign-in, make it so that the app we sign into can post on Facebook as us, access any of our data or friends, send us unlimited marketing email, and otherwise abuse trust we don’t actually have in unknown third parties.
Then there is the new rising star, Pinterest. Have you read its policy about the images you post? If they get sued, you pay. From the start, you cover their legal fees and any judgments. Makes me warying of posting much of anything there, personally.
Listen, Facebook and Twitter sign-in apps: if you want to be me, you have to contribute to my monthly mortgage payment. Pay your part of my taxes. Give me a piece of the action.
Do I sound disturbed? I already know how all this works and my privacy is probably shot. But I suspect payback may be coming down the information highway like big rig out of control. That may manifest as legal action by Congress, surprising changes in the fortunes of big players, or gradual shifts to less autocratic services that do not dictate how we use them.
I see startups in the social media space going that route, and while non have gained Facebook like traction yet, they may.
Not a safe place for social media companies
I don’t think the Internet is a safe place for any company just yet. A My Space gets displaced in a year or two. AOL goes from dominant player to struggling survivor. Yahoo! is more and more a once-was. The Internet loves sea-change, overpowering waves of what’s new and exciting.
One recent study suggests that social consumers “Don’t seem all that loyal in Social. They seem to be increasingly active, trying many services and loyal only to the extent that a solution delivers what they want.”
Forcing your own preconceived ideas on people is not going to work in the long run. Facebook got away with a lot of it so far. So has Google, I suppose.
I suspect Google will be fine, although I personally intend to keep telling them forcing eye-strain on me is not good business. Facebook, I think, may actually see a serious decline in use at some point.
If you don’t give people what they really want, someone else will. There are other cautionary business tales that suggest folks do not necessarily just roll over for corporate decisions any more: Bank of America and other financial institutions learned that when they tried to add fees to debit cards.
Netflix had disasterous results when it split its streaming and DVD services, effectively doubling its prices for people who want both and ditched plans to make streaming a separate business, forcing people to recreate separate accounts.
IPO or no, Facebook is going to lose ground if it does not pay attention to what its users want, not just what Facebook wants. Besides, Mark Zuckerberg is not old enough to be my Big Brother.
What do you think?