This time the Powers That Hate Your Comfort Zone are turning their attention to the News Feed. A February 28th press conference revealed scant details about the overhaul, which may or may not promise larger graphics, heavier advertising, more feed-splitting options, and/or more features catering to mobile phone users. At this point we commoners who aren’t well-connected journalists remain in the dark about the specifics. Even if they were revealed now, I probably wouldn’t read about them anyway. When I log in Thursday, I plan to approach the changes just like the average user would: by launching Facebook with zero expectations, convincing myself my visit will be normal, and then wasting hours trying to undo the damage wrought by someone else’s impaired vision of what “good ideas” look like.
Naturally I have my own notions about how to improve Facebook, none of which are likely to be adopted in my lifetime, or credited to me if they are. Optimizing my own personal Facebook experience would require a few of the following inventions and tweaks:
* An add-on that runs every linked news article or scandalous rumor through a Snopes.com filter. If Snopes has already debunked the story or gossip in question, the post is automatically deleted and the Friend is banned from my Feed for a week.
* Photoshop detector and removal kit; instantly scrubs any altered pics clean.
* Additional reaction buttons besides just “Like”. Many people have mentioned the idea of a “Dislike” button, but I’d also like to see button options for “Super-Like”, “Super-Dislike”, “That’s Racist”, “Watch Your Language”, “Cheer Up Already”, “Marry Me?”, “I Don’t Get It”, and “TMI”.
* PayPal button that I can click to send micropayment tips to Friends who write their own statuses — no copy/paste reposts, no “someecards”, no quotes from Presidents, Gandhi, or MLK.
* Triage feature that pulls any political posts into a separate feed, where they’re converted into tiny avatars and forced to fight each other to the death.
* Meme Alert that informs me of new memes so I can start overusing them before my Friends do.
* A “Summon the Four Horsemen” button I can click to send random natural disasters at my Friends’ FarmVille spreads.
* Background color options besides just white, white, and white.
* A “Facebook Pages of the Week” feature that spotlights different small businesses, self-employers, freelance creators, and, say, humble bloggers so that we can all have extra promotional exposure without Facebook gouging us for thousands of dollars for the chance.
* My Words with Friends win/loss stats, to scare away challengers and conserve my free time.
* A “Number of Days Till MySpace Shuts Down” doomsday clock.
That date again: Thursday, March 7th. Be prepared to have the foundations of your online world rocked with the seismic shifts in store. Also be prepared for someone to start a new Group called “One Million Facebook Users Against the News Feed Changes”, assuming it hasn’t already happened by the time I finish typing this sentence.
(Nope, nothing yet. Everyone refresh later.)