My Little Corner of the Net

Facebook is Becoming MySpace

I got frustrated last night when part of a project I was building failed to work as I had expected.  Lacking the motivation to find a solution I began surfing around on Facebook.

I’ve always liked Facebook because of its clean, clear interface.  It is easy to figure out, easy to navigate, and not overly cluttered.  Being a coder and web geek myself, I also give props to the developers for opening up the Facebook API to developers and for creating the Facebook Platform that lets developers integrate their custom apps into the Facebook site.

In contrast, I’ve never much cared for rival site MySpace because of its cluttered interface and the fact that they apparently do no filtering of user-entered HTML code–which not only allows users to create hideous and unreadable profile pages but also allows scammers to add annoying potentially dangerous JavaScript code to the site.

Facebook seems to handle the security side of things a bit better than MySpace (by opening up the API, however, they have created a potential to let users’ data into the wrong hands, but they also do a good job of warning users about this before allowing them to connect to third-party apps).  By launching the Platform, however, Facebook has kissed their clean interface good bye.

Since most third-party apps are created by “hobby” developers there isn’t a lot of thought or design going into them.  Unlike the original interface–which I am sure was designed by a professional designer–most of the applications I’ve seen seem to be slapped together with no thought for the look or usability.  This is, unfortunately, to be expected—very few code-types have a knack for design—the whole left-brain, right-brain thing.  This, combined with the fact that most users seem to add every application they can find to their profile pages, is leading to Facebook profiles that are almost as obnoxious as  those on MySpace.

This rant notwithstanding, I still find Facebook to be the superior product and I still enjoy using it to keep in touch with old friends and on the goings-on of groups in the community.  I wish I had a solution to clean things up, but because of the nature of the beast, I really don’t think there is one.

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