Not so long ago, we studied in class a number of organizational metaphors, of which my favorite is ‘organizations as flux.’ As I understood it, in a nutshell, it just says that organizations (or the world in general) is always in a state of flux, affected by the changes it causes within itself and the changes in its environment.* As an orcommunicologist, I find comfort in this metaphor, given that we define organizational communication as “the process of creating and exchanging messages within a network of interdependent relationships to cope with environmental uncertainty (Goldhaber, 1978),” and change, or basically any other form of foreign stimulus, is met with uncertainty. In theory and by experience, the most common reaction to this is opposition.
That’s how most of us reacted on this week’s major changes in Facebook, right? Yeah, so much for a segue.
I also had the same reaction when I got the Facebook Ticker on June 30. Yes, that was almost 3 months before its real launch a few days ago. My account turned out to be a part of Facebook’s beta testing for the Ticker, and I was frustrated because it looked complicated. It didn’t help that my job involved 100% Facebook use and that I was the only one in the office with the said predicament. I worried a lot about not being effective in my work as community engager and content creator, just because Facebook changed its interface a bit.
Needless to say, I got used to it– in a way that as if it didn’t exist on the right part of my screen. It was pulled out of my account mid-August, then it made a cameo weeks ago, and now it’s really here.
For all it’s worth, let’s give Facebook some credit for innovation. I joined the social network in 2009, and in 2 years, I have already encountered numerous launches and changes in it already: revamped News Feed, new Profile and Page (with the photo banners), Chat and Video Chat, new Facebook Inbox and e-mail, among others. Sure, the changes appear complicated and sometimes clash with user privacy and taste, but let’s give Facebook a break. It’s the biggest social networking site in the whole world, with close to 1 billion members enjoying (or otherwise) and using its present features. Having said that, it can opt not to introduce any new features or improve user interface, but it does.
Depending on which perspective you’re subscribed to, Facebook improvements can either appear as for optimum user experience or for self-preservation. Or both. Regardless, I’m liking how Facebook is always ahead of the game (Perhaps it helps that G+ is just around the corner, or that we have this case study called Friendster.). In the next few days, Facebook will roll out the improved Profile– the Timeline– and by far, those who have tried it liked/loved it (me included). Some are worried about how stalker-friendly it is, but let me remind you of privacy settings. My worries are focused on Facebook marketing (It’s a safe guess that Facebook will soon implement the Timeline in Pages), but as digital marketers coped with the first Facebook Pages change, I’m sure they/we can brave this one yet again.
I guess Facebook has learned from its previous improvements: people complain, but they will get used to it. Or they will leave, but they will come back, because their friends are here.
Just my two cents. 🙂
*In organizations as flux, we learned of autopoeisis, a field of thought stating that the organization is a part of a closed system that influences and molds itself through circularity and self-reference. Therefore, an organization can be considered an open system interacting with its environment or a part of a closed system where its environment is a part of it. Ah, may I just refer you to Images of Organization (Gareth Morgan) for further reading?
On another note, let me congratulate my friend-colleague Cobach for finally changing her surname a.k.a. tying the knot just last Monday! Oh happy day it was! 🙂
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