Sorry Facebook, Your Profiles Need Some Work

Posted on by Chris Martucci (Chris Martucci)
URL for sharing: http://thisorth.at/ycg
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I'm not quite sure why things like this bother me, but they do. Perhaps I'm a bit neurotic (I prefer "perfectionist)." Whatever you want to call it, I believe that Facebook needs to make some changes.

Now, you're probably thinking, "Absurdity of absurdities! Facebook is perfect! What changes could possibly be made?"

Alright, fine; you probably weren't thinking that (I hope). We all know the Facebook experience can be improved. And the truth is, they're already doing a decent job, constantly upgrading and adding new features. Last November, Zuckerberg announced a new messaging system, which will soon integrate text-messaging, IM, and e-mail into Facebook conversations (that's right, look forward to yourname@facebook.com). And what's more, rumor has it that Skype video chat will soon be making its way to the site.

Still, Facebook's last major overhaul left something to be desired. As you may recall, they completely revamped our profiles. Overall, I believe the upgrade was a step in the right direction--photographs are easier to navigate, profiles are more customizable, and the "See Friendship" feature is pretty neat.

What's my problem then? The "Info" section.



This, as you may recognize, is the "Arts and Entertainment" portion of your profile. Certainly an improvement upon the old system, which merely allowed users to type in the names of artists they listened to. Now there's a nice picture to go along with the name of the band. Looks great. Here's a look at the "Television" section:




Again, clearly an improvement by my standards. However, there is one problem. These are the bands and television shows that I claim to be interested in. These are not necessarily the bands that I actually listen to. These may very well be the bands that I want you to think I listen to. Likewise with television series. Let's not kid ourselves, we've all been guilty of this phenomenon at one point or another. After all, Facebook is how people express their individuality through the creations of others (thank you, Stewie). We want to give off a certain impression of ourselves, and so, sometimes, we lie.

Facebook can do better than that.

People value accuracy when it comes to social networking. We want photos with accurate tags and descriptions. We want to know where people work, what classes they are taking, their political and religious affiliations. And with the recent advent of geographical tagging services such as Gowalla and Foursquare, we want to know exactly where a person is and when.



Of course, people would be displeased if Foursquare merely let its users type in where they claimed to be at a certain time instead of where they actually were. "Jeffrey just checked in at the Playboy Mansion, suckaaaaaas!" This sort of cheating is looked down upon. And yet, this is exactly what Facebook is doing with our profiles.

But do not worry, for I have a solution!

Services such as Last.fm and Netflix provide its users with a more comprehensive profile. Last.fm keeps track of every song you listen to, whether it's on their radio, iTunes, or your iPod. It even synchronizes with services such as The Hype Machine, a music-blog aggregator.



Last.fm provides a more detailed and accurate account of the bands a person is actually listening to. Netflix provides a similar feature:



It is my opinion that the more accurate the information, the more valuable it is, especially in a world where people will stop and read what you had for breakfast this morning. Social networking is built around the assumption that this type of information is interesting to our friends and acquaintances. Why settle for less?

I predict that Facebook will integrate services such as these in the future. Imagine being able to, with the click of a button, sync your profile with your Last.fm, Pandora, Netflix, Google TV, Goodreads, even your Nook or Kindle! By doing so, Facebook could create a more vibrant and valuable social networking experience.

Okay, so maybe "neurotic" wasn't such a bad choice of words after all...

Would you like to see more accurate profile information on Facebook?

1732 views & 43 votes

Debate It! 8

Me likey your taste in television shows.

Posted By Rebecca,

I definitely want to see who has been surfing porn and how much time they take on each view!

Posted By Karla,

The latest batch of changes was horrible.
1. I want my status where people who care can see it.
2. I don't want the new picture viewer.
3. Don't spend 3 months asking me if I want to change and telling me how many of my friends changed when you're just going to change it anyway.

Posted By lockheed40,

Facebook needs changes of the highest order... such as, on the right, when they show you the pictures of people you MAY know, I want that to go away. I have only found one person that I remotely know through that. Next, picture viewer needs to be shredded and burnt. Finally, in order to make the profiles a bit more truthey....make it to where people have to name something about a show to be able to add it.

Posted By Mr.Truther,

@Mr. Truther - I think integration of Netflix or Google TV would be more practical than putting the burden on the users to prove that they engage in a certain activity. I don't want the profile-making process to become a tedious one.

And while we're on the topic of new features, here's something I've been waiting for: The ability to MERGE photo albums!

Posted By Chris Martucci,

I think for most users the appeal of any social networking site is that they DON'T have to be totally accurate or truthful. I mean, if they have to prove they watch and listen to all the pretentious things they've liked, what's next? Is Facebook going to start uncropping and unphotoshopping profile pics? I don't really want to know if the millions of people taking phone pics of themselves in their mirrors aren't wearing pants.

Posted By Cobanerd,

@Cobanerd - I agree, many people like to create an image of themselves on Facebook that may not be completely truthful. However, I feel that Facebook was created around the premise of accuracy--that is why Zuckerberg required that users register with their real name, unlike MySpace. You make a good point however, and that's why I beleive the profile changes I suggest should be optional--give users the option of displaying accurate music taste, etc, and allow other users to do it the old way.

Posted By Chris Martucci,

Every time Faceborg makes a stupid profile change they reset your privacy back to the default. Less profile changes are fine with me and that picture viewer sucks ass.

Posted By Actionamy,

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