Facebook is the internet for [insert term here]
Link via Daring Fireball [df].
It's been a long time since I've been a serious user of Facebook. If I had something to promote I might take it more seriously, but apart from spending a bunch of time playing the games on it for an article [tgs] I rarely use it. A number of people I know, including my wife, have dropped out of it altogether deleting their profiles and preferring to rely on things like email instead.
As someone who is quite comfortable using the internet, it's easy to forget that for a lot of people Facebook is the internet. Like America Online used to be, Facebook is the walled garden where some people do everything online. Want to message a friend? Facebook. Want to play a game? Facebook. Want a place to post pictures? Facebook. Like Wal-Mart it's a one stop shop for pretty much everything some people need. And while there's nothing particularly wrong with that, it's not exactly helping people understand what the internet is about.
And when people don't understand the internet things can go so very wrong.
Case in point, it seems that a significant number of Facebook users don't type www.facebook.com into their URL bar in their browser and they don't have Facebook's login page bookmarked. A significant number of users simply type "Facebook" into their browser's search bar and click the first thing that comes up in the results. Yesterday when a post on Read Write Web [rww] was ranked higher than Facebook's login page for the phrase "Facebook login" for a lot of people Facebook broke. Instead of finding themselves on Facebook's login page they found themselves on a blog, which they assumed was a redesigned Facebook, and thus they began to vent in the comment section.
So is Facebook the internet for dummies? Or do we simply forget that the internet can be a fairly confusing place and that while most of us have been experiencing it for well over a decade by now, for most people it's still quite new. Figuring out how to make web sites more intuitive to use probably should be more important than adding new features.
I should also mention that Read Write Web had also posted a note at the top of the post once they realized what was happening telling people how to get to the real Facebook, and yet people still seemed confused.
Please do yourself a favour and read the comment thread [rww].