If you read any of the tech blogs, you will have seen various posts regarding Facebook’s announcement of “more ways to share”. Most of these posts greet the announcement as something great that has been done because Facebook is almost finally, completely open. Yes, Facebook just gave us more ways to share, they just forgot to make it easier.
So, I may be called stupid for this, but they have given the average user far too many options, and they get confusing. One bright spot is the simplicity of sharing all of the media types. If you look at the image below, you will see the image that most blogs have included.
What people seem to have conveniently missed are the rest of the options. Most blogs have been excited about the inclusion of the “Everyone” option. My problem is that they just made this sharing process complicated. So, you can choose Everyone, your Friends and Networks, Friends of Friends or Friends. That way, you have some list sharing capabilities that Twitter does not have. FriendFeed does have similar options, so this is not entirely new functionality, just an incremental improvement again. Then there is the last option, Customize. This brings you to a popup that allows you to customize who can see the message. This is where things get really confusing.
The idea is that you can select multiple options for the share, or hide it from specific people. Obviously, there is a lot of power here, but this is getting more difficult than just sharing a status update. This is becoming a messaging platform. This is also overly complicated. If I want to share with a few people, or multiple lists, I have to click at least 3 times after typing in my update.
This is yet another area where Facebook could learn from FriendFeed. FriendFeed recently added the ability to share a message with multiple people. You can see how they do this in the image below. First you see “My Feed”, and I typed in “building43” which was “autocompleted”. I can keep typing in various names of people, groups and rooms. It is completely unobtrusive, and feels just like an email. More importantly, it is really simple with autocomplete.
Most likely, we will see a few changes in these sharing options before they are released to everyone. If they do not, they really run the risk of people not changing anything about what they do. Facebook has some good ideas here, and could solidify their position by making it really simple. If they don’t, there will probably be tons of people complaining about the latest thing they don’t like about Facebook. Hopefully, they realize how to change this and they do it quickly. I am not sure if I can take another batch of complaints like we heard about the home page.