The New, the Old and the Over-Tabbed

| Senior Scene Editor

During a beautiful hour of dawdling, a Washington University student goes onto Facebook. But wait. He clicks on his friend’s profile, but where is his information? And what the heck are “boxes?” Welcome to the new Facebook.

The whole point of changing something, of giving it an overhaul, should be to improve it. Otherwise, why waste the effort? Starting in early August, the popular social network Facebook gave its site a complete makeover.

The latest and most noticeable adjustment in a series of revisions that has included the implementation of the news feed, mini-feed, applications and various privacy settings, the “new” Facebook is an attempt to make this college procrastination tool cleaner and easier to use. However, it seems debatable as to whether the changes actually help Facebook users or merely make the of-late familiar site into a confusing maze.

Prior to the most recent changes, the top bar of the “old” version of Facebook contained tabs for Profile, Friends and Inbox on the left, and tabs labeled Home, Account, Privacy and Logout on the right. The rest of the page was white, with a search box and applications on the left sidebar. The profile held information, quotes, and of course, the wall for your friends to write on.

The “new” Facebook changed the “Profile” tab on the homepage so it now says the user’s name, which is not quite as drastic as the changes you see when clicking that link to go to the profile page. Instead of all of the user’s information laid out on one page, the profile has been broken up into four different sections—Wall, Info, Photos and Boxes—which, for the most part, are the same as applications. Furthermore, users can add as many tabs as they would like to their profiles to further customize their organization. This makes for admittedly less scrolling but a tougher workout for your pointer finger.

Many users’ first response to the change was something along the lines of “What the…?” Users had issues finding their friends’ information, searching and navigating the new structure of the site in general. But change often takes time to get used to. After all, humans are creatures of habit. So, after a few weeks to become familiar with the new structure, it was time for a new evaluation.

“I hate the new Facebook,” junior Meaghan McIntosh said. According to McIntosh, the pre-overhaul Web site’s all-white background and wall structure were “aesthetically cleaner.” Like many, she also believes that the older version was more user-friendly.

However, McIntosh did cut the site some slack, despite her self-described “loathing.”

“I guess I just got used to the old one,” McIntosh said with a shrug.

But there must be something good about the “new” Facebook, right? Something to get everyone excited about using the new site? After all, no one would take the time to design a new layout for millions of users without giving them an incentive to, in fact, use it. Junior Aaron Kaplan said he could not really find whatever was supposed to be improved.

“I haven’t found much of a difference,” Kaplan said in response to the logistics of the new site. “Just a different feel.”

While Kaplan is now using the “new” Facebook, McIntosh is sticking to the familiar and less-tabbed Facebook. Apparently not wanting to force its users into stepping out of their comfort zone, Facebook left an option in the top right corner to forgo the new site. Right next to the link that says “Send feedback” is a link offering users a way “back to the old Facebook.”

This link, however, begs a question creator Mark Zuckerberg probably does not want to hear. If the “new” Facebook is not offering any new incentives and users are still linked to the old and comfortable, how many people are actually using the new site? Better yet, why, as users, should we?