Facebook, why must you do this?

Facebook: Top newsI don’t understand why Facebook keeps changing my “most recent” news preference to “top news“.

I don’t trust “top news” because it keeps hiding stuff from me that I want to see, and showing me stuff I don’t.

Comments here indicate I’m not alone.

Firefox users can install this plugin to override Facebook’s preference… but really, should one have to resort to that?

Why I prefer Twitter to Facebook

Twitter and Facebook have some similarities. Both offer a micro-blogging feature via status updates.

Of the two, I think I prefer Twitter.

Why Twitter’s better

Twitter’s public. You don’t need a logon to see my Twitter feed. (It can also be made private, if one prefers.)

Twitter’s open. You don’t need to log onto a web site to use it. Thanks to a published API, Twitter has lots of different applications that can post to it, and you can also post via text message.

Twitter displays things in strict time order. Facebook’s News Feed does some weird crap with what it shows you, sometimes sometimes (and often annoyingly) showing you stuff from days ago, and seemingly hiding other updates until it feels like showing them. Which leads me into…

Twitter keeps its history, and it’s very visible. You can link straight back to that killer post. Facebook… well, I’m not sure I trust it to keep everything, because I can’t easily find it. (But given there’s always an inherent risk with keeping your data with external companies, I keep copies of significant posts myself.)

No offence to my Facebook friends, but Twitter has cooler people on it, publicly tweeting. In most cases you don’t need to go through the rigmarole of getting permission to watch their Tweets, so it’s easier to find and follow who you want. In fact it’s helped get me interested in Federal politics again.

Twitter doesn’t try to integrate every bloody app, and keep asking you for permissions to use them. Nor does it have overt advertising or keep making suggestions about things that will just waste your time.

Why Facebook’s better

Facebook has the advantage of including easier methods for posting pictures and video. Twitter gets these via addon sites such as Twitpic, or via separate services such as Flickr or Youtube.

You never see this in Facebook:
Argh! Twitter is down for maintenance!

You can’t play Scrabble in Twitter. Mind you, those new adverts are pretty annoying.

How others see you

Facebook has the Like button. Twitter has a way to make a Tweet your favourite, though that’s not really an equivalent to Like.

But Twitter also has Retweets, allowing people to pass on your comments to their followers, should they wish. Facebook doesn’t really have an equivalent to that.

And Twitter has Lists, which I find interesting.

How do others categorise me? Checking the lists, I show up as:

  • everythingaussie
  • random-goings-on
  • state
  • melbourne (x 7)
  • aunewsnotsportnottech
  • people
  • railpage
  • irl
  • news (x 2)
  • faves
  • openstreetmap
  • people-of-interest
  • real-people
  • local-news-sport
  • favs
  • melbourne1
  • auspolitics
  • geeky

Hmm.

So anyway, I’m more likely to post on Twitter than FB. Follow my Twitter feed if you want to.

(I should add that although I dip into Facebook every so often, I am pretty strict there about only “friending” people I actually know in real life.)

Which do you prefer?

The timewaster

The curse of the Internet and the short attention span — there’s too much stuff to look at.

So I check my email.

Then I have a look in Google Reader.

What’s Twitter doing? Okay.

Facebook? My turn in Scrabble yet?

Might check a couple of the news sites and see what’s happening.

And the Whirlpool forum?

OK, all under control. But hey, I wonder if there’s any new email?

Rinse and repeat. How do I break this cycle?

I once had an idea for it: a combined mega-reader/aggregator that would grab data from all those sources and more, configured by the user. It would rank everything according to a priority — again, configured by the user — perhaps the emails from your boss and/or spouse at the top, the dull email newsletter which you should read but don’t want to at the bottom, and news bulletins somewhere in the middle.

So you could see everything in one hit, all prioritised.

I even came up with a name and a domain name for it: View My World.

And I did some rough designs on it, but never got to the coding stage.

I still think it’s a good idea, and anybody who’s got the time and inclination to work on it should give me a shout, maybe we can come up with a collaboration.

Meanwhile, amusingly, ViewMyWorld.com is now registered by Microsoft, and appears to be a recruitment web site.

(Anybody who wants to develop the Screaming Room idea should also give me a scream shout. I already have a prospective subscriber in Derrimut.)

No, I won’t

See here’s the thing, Mr Facebook.

Facebook suggestion

Just because someone I know on your fine service has managed to resist the temptation to add 300 “friends” (most of whom in reality he barely knows) who can bombard him with requests to play Mafia Wars and Farmville and endless pointless quizzes, doesn’t mean you can rope me into suggesting people to him.

If he feels he has the time to throw away so that he keep his eyeballs staring at your web site for hours on end, so you can serve him irritating and irrelevant adverts, I’m sure he’ll find people to add himself.

If on the other hand he’s managed to limit his Facebook addiction, and “only has 18 friends on Facebook”, then good for him. I’m not going to mess that up.