It’s hard to remember how Facebook used to be—way back in 2004—when the social networking community was first introduced to the public as the place to “connect and share with the people in your lives.” Lucky for us, now we don’t really have to. On September 10, Facebook launched its newest service, Facebook Lite, a modified and simplified version of Facebook that is free from applications and distracting layouts. Facebook Lite emphasizes the bare bones of its services, which you can see designated as the only menu options in my screen capture below: Wall; Info; Friends; and Photos & Videos.
Facebook Lite makes core content easy to find, easy to access and alleviates some of the frustration of having to sift through 3,000 event invites, “What Twilight character are you?” quizzes, tabs for notes, links, network sorting, etc. It’s simple, requires less bandwidth and is easily navigable—something I’d feel much more comfortable sitting down to explain to a person who has never dabbled in social media before.
This is a step in the right direction for Facebook.
Do you remember those things from childhood—you know, those horrible things that pretty much traumatized my youth and made me feel inferior to those with super human vision? Yes, they were those Magic Eye designs. See the photo below for a refresher.
Can you identify the 3-D object hidden in this image? I’ve tried for years and my response is not so startlingly still the same: no…and frustratingly so. I relate Facebook’s newest jam-packed site revision with the Magic Eye phenomenon: available to all, but valuable only to a select audience. Whereas Magic Eye is, no doubt, more than aware that it exists to frustrate a large portion of the population, Facebook exists to appeal to the common user—the college friend, the coworker, the parent, all who may not be interested in taking the time to trudge through the muck to get to the content: the videos, the pictures, the comments, the messages.
Facebook Lite is a great alternative for those who would rather not be inundated with unwanted information, and also to those who see advanced technology as a barrier. When the core message is convoluted with flashy language or unnecessary complexities, the content loses value. Normal Facebook is still available to those who prefer apps and would rather craftily maneuver around the site, but the company is smart by introducing Lite. The service will accommodate a large portion of existing users and open the door to new users who would rather avoid the clutter.