Facebook has already infiltrated our everyday lives. With more than a billion users, an increasing presence in divorce proceedings, and the subject of a heavily decorated motion picture, it is unquestionable that Facebook is a driving force in culture. Unfortunately, many are wondering if the tech powerhouse is taking things a little too far.
Around the world, users upload countless bytes data – sometimes extremely personal information – and also share links, connect with friends, and interact with their favorite companies. Everyday. In fact, the average user spends roughly 23 minutes a day – more than 11 hours a month – on Facebook.
To put that into perspective, the average 15-19 spends just 7 minutes reading for pleasure everyday (and it’s likely that most of the material was found on their newsfeed).
And if the daily usage wasn’t enough, Facebook recently announced their new Facebook home app for Android, making the site even more accessible and loaded with new features. Social networking fans are eagerly awaiting the new Facebook phone, while critics raise reasonable concern for how Home will affect users’ privacy.
Internet 2.0.1 Beta
Smartphones are extremely important to those who own them – most users interact with their bank, their brother, and their reading list from the device, but Facebook is still king. On average nearly about 20% of the time we’re on our smartphones we’re using Facebook. With that in mind, the development of Facebook Home, an app that monopolizes users phones to exist around Facebook as it dominates homescreens, was a natural progression. Developers are changing how we see social networking.
In fact, you could even argue that developers are changing the way users see digital interactions altogether.
The idea of the app is to make a phone social media-centric. Since we’re all on Facebook anyway, why not use the collection of applications in Facebook Home that take us right where we need to go, as well as include other popular networks such as Instagram. Developers are determined to make the smartphone experience about people, not about apps.
Exponential Growth, Reckless Abandon
While there is a lot for be excited about with the new Facebook Home app, and it’s sure to spark change among other app developers and social media networks, there is some apprehension. There are some concerns that come with a more intense Facebook experience (something that almost seems impossible).
For example, annoyances like being unable to avoid those dreaded Farmville requests would become unavoidable. Additionally, times when users were disconnected to Facebook would become nonexistent. The new app definitely promises more notifications, hopefully improvements that will make the entire Facebook experience more personalized and enjoyable.
More than annoying notifications, there are concerns over the privacy implications of the new Facebook centered phone. The app is supposed to be about people, not apps, but what does that mean? Critics and skeptics might say the new Facebook app will certainly give the site more opportunities to collect information about their users as a means to personalize advertisers ability to target customers.
Finally, the new chat feature will make chatting even easier, but whether someone wants to chat is up to them. In any case, users should know with settings and features they want to use and which they should disable. As long as Facebook users always remember that anything they post online is not entirely private, no matter how they access the social network, they should be able to avoid posting anything they don’t want the world to see.
Infiltrate, Edit, Repeat
However, innovation must continue and for many this means that Facebook will become an even bigger part of the lives of some users as it becomes easier to use. And the potential for great things to result from increased connectivity is monumental, it’s just important we remember to continue to keep improving Facebook Home and whatever comes after it.
Developers should quickly develop tools that allow users to edit the notifications they receive with just a few finger swipes. Without these developments, the incessant and irritating notifications might drive away users. Additionally, a feature that disables the app easily would be helpful for users who are easily distracted, but do have other things in their lives that need attention.
However, it is always important to remember that developers must develop, progress will continue, and it is users who ultimately decide how much they use.
The Facebook Home app is available on April 12th on Android phones through the Google Play Store.