Change You Can Believe In?

Facebook has made quite a few changes of late – possibly to counter the early successes of Google Plus, but also possibly just because they can. (As Gov. Lepetomane says in Blazing Saddles, “We’ve gotta protect our phony-baloney jobs.”) It seems to be an ongoing trend among developers, adding more features or changing the structure and flow of their applications for no (apparently) good reason. Is all this change a good thing?

Facebook’s changes are not what prompted this post. Rather, I’ve been playing around with Empire Avenue this past month or so, and have had some fun “investing” in the social media activities of people all around the world. It started out to be a fun game, but quickly things turned when the folks at EAv decided that “Change” was good…

See, your “score” is measured in dividends – a representation of the level of your social media activities. Problem was, they valued the quantity of activity rather than the quality. So, folks scored great dividends by tweeting stupidness, posting dozens of dopey pictures on Flickr, and otherwise flooding Social Media Land with crap crap and more crap. And they were rewarded for this!

Empire Avenue decided to change things up. (Was it in response to this valid issue? Nobody knows, because for a social-connected app they sure don’t communicate much…) They changed how they calculate dividends, which drove everybody’s steadily performing dividends levels into the toilet. Lots of players complained, both about the lack of communication and the changes.

So how are these changes different from what Facebook has done? In a word, traction. Facebook made changes that royally pissed off their membership, and people complained but took it. EAv made similar changes, and their members are quitting the game in droves.

Will Facebook members follow suit? No, they won’t – you know it, I know it, and more importantly Facebook knows it. But, wouldn’t it be great if Facebook didn’t know it? Would they be more careful about making changes? I guess we’ll never know that.

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