I know that Facebook remains one of the top stories around the interwebs but for me it’s not cutting the mustard. I’ve consistently said that FB is a metaphor for what could be a sensible alternative to business portals but as a business tool in its own right, FB is failing. Perhaps I was naive in my original thinking but I’m not the only one who holds that view.
Last week, I met a number of people who said much the same thing and with no prompting by me. As I see it, there are a bunch of problems the developers are failing to resolve but upon which many people agree:
- As Robert Scoble has said, it’s a data roach motel. What goes in, stays in and it’s not easy to surface the data.
- There’s no sensible differentiation between classes of ‘friend.’ Plaxo does this admirably. Facebook says it’s working on it.
- FB forces me to visit the site each time there’s something it thinks I need to know or an invite. I don’t want to respond to every request.
- As Mike Krigsman has pointed out, Facebook fails in the privacy stakes
- There’s no expiry date/time for events or requests. If I’ve not been to FB for a while, I find all manner of requests piling up. If I’m not interested then I’d rather they died through timing out.
- Adding in applications means FaceBook gets very cluttered very quickly. That is of course assuming those apps work. Many don’t. It’s essentially a single page with a ton of stuff on my profile. A lot of it is interesting but the layout makes it awkward to group things the way I’d like to – ergo – it looks like a garbage tip.
- The recent deal with Microsoft which some geniuses think values the company at $15 billion (they’re nuts to believe that) means Facebook becomes one of a growing number of sites that will splurge me with unwanted, non-contextualized ads (at least until they figure out how to solve that problem.) Business use requires I maximize the use of screen real estate for stuff I want to get done, not ads.
I know that HR consultants like it as a way of attracting new hires. That’s one aspect I really like, but if people become bored with it then Facebook’s utility falls.
UPDATE: Dave Turner is thinking about this stuff…with caution