Why the Facebook user experience has me edging to the exit

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I’ve been falling out of love with Facebook for a while. Where once I used to jump on early every morning, and chat, catch up on gossip, and share my own small highlights and lowlights throughout the day, now I visit maybe once or twice a week. It’s become a chore. Want to find out what’s new in your newsfeed? First you have to wade through adverts, Suggested Apps, Suggested Posts, pages your friends like and the rest. Too much effort.

Facebook’s user experience would suck a little less if the ads and promoted posts they pushed weren’t so utterly random. On an increasingly rare visit last night, up popped this:

Why Facebook's user experience has me edging to the exit

The Sexual Recovery Institute is an LA-based clinic that focuses on sex addiction. I know this because I googled them. Leaving aside the question of whether it’s a good idea for an organisation to push a post that deals in sensitive personal issues to a general audience on a social networking site, what on earth is Facebook thinking? Look at my timeline and it’s all running, Brentford FC, and the occasional video of cats falling off things. Sex addiction? Not so much. Admittedly I’m a fan of Game of Thrones, but that’s as saucy as it gets on my newsfeed.

It’s like chatting with your mates in the pub and having a complete stranger join your table and try to start a conversation about STDs. Wouldn’t you be edging towards the exit too?

And judging by the comments on the post, I wasn’t the only one wondering what was going on. Reactions range from amusement to outrage.

Sexual Recovery Institute comments

I understand that Facebook needs to make money. But pushing irrelevant ads that are of no interest to their target audience does no favours to them or the brands they’re promoting.

Facebook must be sitting on a stack of data about me by now. It’s surely not impossible to use that information to at least serve up promotions that I might be interested in. I’m tired of the lazy demographic targeting that assumes that because I’m female and the wrong side of 40, I’m only interested in reading about stomach fat and cellulite. And sex addiction, apparently.

But in the end, I’m with Mark Schaefer – I’d happily pay a fee to Facebook to get rid of all the clutter and return to a decent user experience. Pretty please.

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9 Comments

  1. I completely agree with you. I don’t even use Facebook for my social media promotion. Google+ is the next big thing, in my opinion.

    Thanks for the share, Hannah :)

    • Thanks Cori! I avoid FB for promotions too and just use it for personal reasons. I haven’t really clicked with Google+ yet – I definitely need to take another look at it

  2. The other day, while facilitating a social media workshop, I told participants that Facebook was not a social network anymore. It’s become a company that doesn’t care about its customers. If it really did, we wouldn’t have to worry about the irrelevant content in our newsfeed…

    • You’re so right, Cendrine. The trouble is, FB doesn’t see us as its customers. It continues to surprise me that it keeps reporting increased usage stats

    • Personally, I believe there’s a strategy here: Annoy users with irrelevant and sometimes offensive ads, including promoted posts. Next, offer users the option to “upgrade” to a paid account, which “for a small monthly fee”, removes adds, promoted posts, and give the user greater control.

  3. I left FB a few weeks back. I got tired of the whole experience, including the useless posts and status updates. I’ve had a Google+ account for over a year, but delved into it completely when I left FB and the user experience is just so much better. Besides — G+ is more about connecting with people you don’t already know but with whom you share similar interests, to learn new things and discuss common passions. My engagement with G+ is way beyond what is ever was with FB and in the end, I just do not miss FB at all. I also detect a buzz around G+ that hasn’t been there before.

    • Thanks Adam! I’m sensing a growing buzz around G+ too – good to hear that you’ve found the switch from FB so painless

  4. Pingback: Facebook’s hidden treasure: the Secret Group - Richmond Green

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