Some changes work, others get slammed

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

Social networking is just getting bigger and (sometimes) better as more of us embrace its many wonders.

We’ve given it a wee hug of our own here at The Southland Times, with our very own Facebook page now having almost 800 fans who are as stoked about the mighty Stags and their heroic Ranfurly Shield efforts as we are.

Check us out at www.facebook.com/southlandtimes.

Facebook is now taking its role as a social network site to new extremes, offering users the chance to stay in touch with the other side.  It’s called Facebook Reconnect, which arrived as part of the souped-up news feed and live feed changes to the Facebook homepage.

Reconnect lets you reconnect with old friends who you haven’t chatted with for a while and it can also be used to memorialise loved ones  whose profiles remain intact  by posting remembrances on their wall.

The changes to the site haven’t been welcomed by all Facebook users and a bunch of them (more than 1 million, in fact) have joined an online group called ”Change Facebook Back to Normal”.

The biggest gripe with users seems to be the feature that provides a ”feed” containing updates from their online friends.  The change means those updates are no longer in chronological order, instead they display the most interesting things that happened during the past day. Really? Interesting to whom?

I’m with the Change Facebook Back to Normal crowd on this one: it’s a confusing change and I’m not sure why it was deemed necessary.

Trade Me’s another site that often gets slammed every time any changes are made (thinking back to this year’s mini-redesign and the mass meltdown it caused on the message board) but the latest tweaks to the message board seem to have escaped any major rants.

The changes are, for the most part, pretty good and have included some of the suggestions offered up by users. I think that’s had a big bearing on the lack of backlash: people always feel better about change if they feel they’ve had some input.

And, finally, go the Stags!

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