Facebook's usefulness wanes

September 2, 2015 — by Claire Rhee

Facebook is no longer the social media site that everyone is obsessed with. If you asked someone a couple of years ago if they found Facebook useful, the answer would almost always be “yes”; today, the answer might be “not so much.”

Facebook is becoming too cluttered with never-ending notifications from every time something new comes on the feed. Also, numerous irrelevant posts, such as video game ads, serve only to distract the user.

When Facebook was first launched in 2004 and for several years after, it served multiple purposes. People could connect with others, share fun family trips and message their friends. Now, these features aren’t as useful because more specialized and effective social media platforms are now available, like Instagram and Snapchat.

Despite this, the number of people who use Facebook since 2004 has increased exponentially, reaching 968 million daily users in June 2015. Yet actual activity on Facebook does not match the number of users on the site. Facebook’s many users do not do as much as in the past. They might scroll through their feed, like a couple posts and be done for the day. In my experience, people are simply not using Facebook as much anymore.

One factor is weak content. Many posts are by strangers and only show up because friends of friends liked them. As a result, users often have to scroll through unimportant content to see what they want to see.

It would be much more convenient if the news feed was restricted to what a user’s friends post. Posts from unknown people can pop up on a feed, which causes a large number of uninteresting notifications.

In addition, some pictures appear multiple times because they have been liked repeatedly. When that happens, it confuses users because it makes them think that they are scrolling through old news.

Granted, teenagers still use Facebook to create groups and message each other. Facebook can be very helpful in that sense, since it allows hundreds of people to communicate easily. Still, those same groups could be made through email or regular text messages.

If Facebook wants to remain useful to users, it needs to do something new that will grab the attention of people of all ages. For instance, it might want to consider changing its design or adding new functions.

One function that would be handy is a filter that allows the user to choose what posts they would like to see. It could have various options, such as “Friends,” “Related Friends,” “Public” and “All Posts.”

Although Facebook can still occasionally be a good tool, at the moment, it is falling behind.

 

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