Ever since Facebook rolled out its new design, we’ve heard how millions of users hate the decision, but founder Mark Zuckerberg apparently didn’t care what they thought.
Now Facebook is responding to the vocal minority–yes a few million is a minority among 175 million total users–and will look at making changes to the new layout. I won’t go into all of the changes Facebook has agreed to make because that’s not what I won’t to focus on in this post. Instead, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my theory:
Did Facebook users win the war, or is the social network merely conceding territory it’s apathetic about in order to give the appearance that its users have a say in the company’s future?
Let me explain. In Radically Transparent we discuss the importance of ensuring your vocal detractors are brought inside. We explain that you don’t have to hand over the keys to your business, just let your detractors steer the car for a while and they’ll feel like they played a part in getting to the company’s destination. You might argue that it’s not very transparent, but your detractors don’t always have the better solution, they were just pissed that you made the changes without consulting them first.
I believe that’s what is happening here. Unlike Scoble or Arrington, I don’t believe Facebook has handed over control to “volvo” or “camel” designers. Instead, it appears that Facebook is extremely smart in the way it’s handling this. It’s rolled out massive changes–ones that it knows will help fill the bank account in the long run–waited to see just how much of a push-back it met, then agreed to some minor tweaks so that the complainers feel they’ve had their voices heard. They go back to being Facebook brandvangelists and Facebook get’s to push on.
What do you think? Am I talking out of my rear, or does this make sense to you?