Where did the Facebook I Knew in High School Go?

**This post originally appeared on John Amoroso’s Medium page on October 6, 2016**

Back in my early high school days, Facebook was a baby on the verge of hitting the big time. The social network took over how high school and college students communicated and stayed in contact with one another. As the new and hip social network, Facebook easily and early on destroyed MySpace numbers and well, the rest was history. Just a note, I never had a MySpace page so I don’t have the expertise on how different the experiences really were. Facebook has changed so much and the “marketplace” is just another reason I ask, where is the Facebook I used to know?

Go back in time and think about how new and complex we thought Facebook was. We would post status updates about meaningless happenings in life (sort of like away statuses on AOL messenger), we would send quick messages or create a chain of wall posts, or we would post photos that we now probably regret because I know I was not a good looking kid. We liked pages that would be scrutinized by our friends. Oh, and we cannot forget the “FB official” nonsense talk the day after a relationship status was changed (well I guess that is still a thing).

Those were simpler times. We take for granted though how simple it was but also how effectively it satisfied our needs. Facebook was bound to evolve and everyone was going to continue to use it because the bare bones idea became such a monumental part of young people’s lives.

Now-a-days we can’t even open up Facebook without seeing a shared food, spoof, or cat video first. The evolution has been a crazy process of trails and tribulations but everyone stayed pat and have become more addicted to the media instead of the ‘social’ aspect. Status updates, for the most part, have gone to the wayside and posting on someones else’s wall has become a birthday message montage. Thank god for Twitter taking over for news and “status updates.” Side note — I am all in on Twitter. Facebook groups made us all happy to be included with the select few. Now businesses and individuals try to get us in these groups focused on “helping one another” but in reality we did not want to be invited to the group nor did we want the notifications. I will say though, the one group that I love being apart to this day is my group of friends from high school. There aren’t posts everyday (take notice over posting fiends) but once in a while a notification will pop up and it feels as though we always have been in touch.

In 2016, Facebook is trying really hard to literally take over the internet and how we interact every single day. The amount of features and new social interactions Facebook has created have only overwhelmed and over-saturated their own network. Here is how they did it:

Facebook Messenger came along and flipped messaging upside down. Yes it gives more access to people to chat but now folks can subscribe to publications and the whole sticker thing is obnoxious, and why do we need a separate app for messaging?

Facebook Pages and Facebook Group App tried to make internal Facebook things external and standalone things outside of the actual Facebook. Sure people use them but is there really a need? Well yeah, for those businesses and groups trying to get you to interact and help everyday.

WhatsApp and Instagram highlight purchases by Facebook but all acquisitions are still under the umbrella of over-saturation. The two listed above stand alone in that each satisfies a specific need, free international communication and our go-to picture sharing mecca.

Facebook Live is cool but it was not the first of its kind when it was rolled out. The one thing it has over the other live-streaming apps is the vast amount of users, which will always be Facebook’s advantage over new applications. This is especially the case with the amount of likes or friends you have over Twitter followers or Periscope followers.

Lifestage was announced as a way to get the younger generation to stay on the boat. Oh yeah, and they want to take advantage of school networks. Way to freak out parents everywhere Facebook.

Facebook at Work is a direct copy of Slack. Need I say anything else?

I for one do not need Facebook everything all the damn time. With what is out there now, my use has lessened to a bare bone approach which consists of getting the red notification mark off of the app and posting ‘happy birthday’ messages to people. We all have those people who share everything under the moon all day long and it is ridiculous. This also helps keep me at that bare bone usage. It actually helps because if I am not actively looking for ‘cool’ or disturbing videos I would rather just go hop on Twitter and get actual news or go check Snapchat stories.

Now to the latest Facebook feature that truly has me wondering where the simpler days have gone, Facebook Marketplace. The “marketplace” is featured prominently on the main lower tab section of the Facebook app. Stumbling into the marketplace for the first time was truly upsetting. Haven’t we learned that public selling on apps and websites can be dangerous? This section of Facebook has come out in prime application real estate because of the success of public shop and pay applications like Letgo, OfferUp, and Mercari.

Here are just some of the items that came up as soon as I opened the market:

  • An old school five dollar bill selling for $15.
  • A steering wheel for $140.
  • A used iPhone 6 with 16GB storage for $400.
  • Woman’s virgin hair bundles for $85.
  • 6 pairs of Air Jordan’s that can be had for “entertaining trades in [his] favor.”
  • Old cars ranging from $550-$4000.

No thank you.

I do not want to see this marketplace section of Facebook every time I open the application. I already do not buy items for myself on public shop and pay apps so why would I need Facebook to try and make it a part of the fabric of its identity. I get it. Facebook wants to rule the internet and this is just another step in the process. But it makes no sense to over-saturate the advantage you have.

Everyone is in tune with how to fundamentally use Facebook, that is to keep in touch with old friends and share momentous occasions in life. That is the experience Facebook should always focus on, not these extraneous ‘noise creating’ extensions they try to make a thing.

Why can’t we go back to the simpler times? Well, that is easy; the world moves on. So yes, while I sit here saying how the additions to Facebook are too much, they had to stay competitive. That though is not the point.

Like I said before, I use the (my) bare bones method of Facebook because there is too much going on. We take for granted how easy the social network was to use in its earlier years and how simplistically and gracefully it satisfied our needs.

Where did the Facebook I knew in high school go?

The only place it could have, beneath the crazy the layers of the platform’s evolution.

***This post originally appeared on John Amoroso’s Medium page on October 6, 2016***

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