Why Does It Take Hours to Configure Facebook?

-Pocket Watch-Ready to join Facebook? Excellent. The first step is to add everybody that you’ve ever met by importing your contacts from your email and adding everybody as friends. Just make sure that you add these individuals to pre-selected friend lists. That way you can configure all your privacy settings as necessary. Don’t know how to configure your Facebook privacy settings?

No problem! Just view our 10 Facebook privacy settings that we wrote about previously. That should at least get you started. Now you are just steps away from having a perfect Facebook configuration. That’s right: you aren’t done yet! My guess is that you didn’t just join Facebook though. You’ve probably been on the site for a year if not longer.

That means you already have around 100 – 200 friends at least and you probably haven’t properly configured your friends lists, although you’ve started trying to. Pull a lever, push a button, and try to make a few other changes. Suddenly you realize that this isn’t as easy as you thought it would be. Managing your social connections suddenly become overwhelming and all you really wanted to do in the first place was spy on your ex.

Things were so much easier and innocent when Facebook was limited to colleges but years later we have interconnected relationships and things just aren’t that simple. Globalization was also a good idea until the whole collapse of the financial system took place and now we’re realizing that globalization is not so smooth sailing either. Maybe that analogy is a bit extreme though. You can’t boil the whole financial system down into one sentence, right?

Earlier today I read an article by Julia Angwin which echoes many of my sentiments:

I feel overwhelmed. When I log into Facebook, I’m barraged by a stream of updates that are dominated by those friends who are on Facebook all the time – or at least at the same time I am. I often scroll down to the bottom of the page, vainly searching for the kind of items that used to catch my attention before.

The catchy stream that Twitter provides has now become integrated into Facebook. On Twitter, I basically stopped using the service non-stop because after following one thousand people, there was no way I could possibly monitor everything taking place among my “friends”. Facebook is rapidly generating a similar sentiment although I’m more inclined to use the service for obvious reasons.

Power to the People?

The key question is whether or not it makes sense to give people full control of their information flow or if social platforms should automatically filter the stories on behalf of the user. It appears that there are two types of users and each has their own personal preference. The heavy users of social platforms are more inclined to control every aspect of their information.

For example a few users told me that they had invested a fair amount of time perfecting what users they receive stories about when suddenly Facebook pulled the rug out from under them and switched the design. Now users are back to filtering feed stories but in a different way. Whether or not this change was good idea is hard to tell. Ultimately Facebook is best suited to determine which model is most effective because they have the usage data.

In a world of content overload, my gut instinct is that automatic filters are the most valuable feature of social platforms but in the last redesign Facebook essentially threw that out the window.

Conclusion

Right now, Facebook has become a platform for us to communicate with one another but the rules of engagement are no longer clear and managing our relationships have become increasingly complex. With the amount of time currently required to configure a Facebook account, it becomes more of a philosophical question as to whether or not it is worth the time investment to configure your Facebook account.

Do you find it to be increasingly challenging to manage? Is this a concern that only I have or have you found it increasingly overwhelming?