Dear Facebook, your users are lazier than you think

I have been following Robert Scoble for a few months now and I have to say that his posts keep me updated on a lot of stuff along with the latest in AR/VR and is probably one of the best sources on the topic.

Today he probably just had ‘one of those days’ and posted a rant about the way some people commented on one of his posts (He later removed his post, so I couldn’t take a screenshot).

(SAMPLE PHOTO) Only name comments are counter-productive and just overloads information for other users trying to read the comments.

Using a sample photo, I’ll try to get to the issue which bothered him. Most of the users tag the person whom they would like to view the post in the comments. Now this becomes extremely irritating for the other users as it

  1. Increases the clutter
  2. Increases the cognitive load
  3. Requires him to press ‘load more comments’ which sometimes lead to more such comments (nothing short of trolling IMHO)

Feeling curious why people do this, I asked a friend(who frequently tags friends in the comments) after seeing him comment on a video.

Why did you tag XYZ in the comments?

I want him to check out the video, it’s amazing.

But you can also share it on his timeline or send it as a message?

That’s too long, too much effort. Also there’s nothing private so why would I sent it as a message?

People just want to share things with their friends. They see something cool, they want their friends to see it too. Any way they end up sharing(comments, posting on timeline or messaging) is irrelevant to them as the message is not confidential or personal. The easiest(laziest) way for them is through just tagging their mate in the comments. This can be seen a lot in the case of images and videos shared by pages on facebook.

One pattern which can be noticed is that facebook first requires the user to select the method to share followed by whom to share it with. This model works well for sharing externally and in groups.

So what can you do? In case of comments which consist only of tagged usernames, you can can give an option to send as a message or share on the tagged person’s timeline when he clicks to post the comment. Or you can push these comments to the bottom of the discussion as they probably contribute the least to a healthy discussion and are irritating for the other users. I definitely think that the brightest minds at facebook like Julie Zhuo can come up with something.

I hope the people at facebook are able to see the path their user are taking and the path which was meant for them.

Reality vs Expectations. Make roads where people walk cause only roads change, people don’t.
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