Facebook cleanse

Facebook & Instagram

Over the past few years, my usage of Facebook has gone down. Not because I don’t like it, but mostly because it has become my news aggregator. It used to be my friend news aggregator, but it turned into brand news aggregator. I have enough sources that are far more superior at aggregating these news types.

Anyway, this week, I changed how my Facebook looked. I had to unfollow and “unlike” a ton of Pages. This included TV shows, movies, tons of fashion brands, products etc. Now, my News Feed only shows posts from my Facebook friends. The peace is back.

At first, it felt nice and I was happy to see the posts from just my FB friends. A few hours in, I realized that these were posts from very few friends who were using it. Not a lot of my friends use or post on FB anymore. It’s the end of a beautiful era.

FB was hot and I loved it. I still do. Not a fan of the UI but nevertheless, it’s an amazing platform. I thought about what would bring back its glory. I think making a user’s News Feed focus on content from their friends would make it wonderful and personal. If a user Likes or Follows a Page, or even joins a Group, FB should make the user explicitly opt-in to include their updates in the user’s News Feed as opposed to including them by default. This would be a better UX. Even having separate tabs to show all the updates from Pages and Groups would be nice. These are the UX changes that’d make FB feel more personal again.

Right now, Instagram is all the hype. I love Instagram. Not the current one, but the original one without the Stories. It was so cool and felt so personal. Now, all I see is that the people I follow posting random re-posts of posts from accounts I don’t give a shit about. Over the past couple of years, I unfollowed so many of my friends who did this. The most critical feature of Instagram was not having this ability to re-post. Now they have it. It makes my feed terrible. I get why they want that feature, but I’m not a fan of it. It’s just bad UX.

I miss the old Facebook and the old Instagram, the fantastic networks that made more people want to use it. Neither of these platforms are simple anymore. The UX is just way too convoluted.

The most critical feature of Instagram

Instagram is a simple and fun application. The simplicity of the application is what led to its success. It is extremely addictive.

However, its most important feature or lack thereof, is the regram functionality. Instagram doesn’t allow users to just repost the same image from another user natively. The absence of this functionality is just wonderful. Users can definitely install third party apps that support this functionality, but, Instagram doesn’t support it natively.

As a user, your feed is usually pretty clean. There’re no non-sensical memes or random images showing up in your feed. You definitely can subscribe to them, but, you don’t see them unless you specifically subscribe to them.

Personally, I think this is great. It keeps the app very focused and clean.