There are moments throughout my day at work where I will think “Oh, I need to check last minute flights when I get home”, “Oh, I’ll have a look at what play.com have to offer this week” “I wonder what’s new on Money Saving Expert” and so on. But what happens when I get home and switch on my notebook is a little phenomenon I like to call ‘Facebook default’.
Without even thinking about it, my pointer goes straight to the Facebook shortcut in my menu bar and before I know it I’m logging and looking at my Mum’s photos. The funny thing is, I created my Mum’s profile and uploaded the photos for her from MY own personal photo collection!
So what is it that Facebook has got which means it has this automatic pull to so many of us when all we really wanted to do was look at holidays, clothes and ways to save a bit of cash?
I was never a MySpace user and have only visited MySpace on a handful of occasions and my overall impression has been that it appears jumbled, messy and far too disorganised for my tidy designer mind to deal with.
Perhaps it is this which has captured the masses so well? Facebook took elements of MySpace and FriendsReunited and simply did it better. Facebook’s interface design is clean, effective, self explanatory and doesn’t allow users to meddle with its look and feel, which, to us fastidious creative designers – is always a good thing and has become one of its strongest assets. From a critical eye, the ability of the site's creators to cram so many features and so much information into a somewhat simple and clean interface is quite a triumph.
But I’m still not sure though if this neither explains Facebook’s ‘stickiness’ nor provides any justification to its habitual draw for so many of us.
I would not even say Facebook is particularly cool, (especially when your Mum starts using it) sometimes I even feel a little ashamed of myself for having spent so long having a nosey at other people’s profiles. However, I can quite shamelessly admit (and maybe I speak for others here) that as a naturally competitive and curious person it’s normal to judge ourselves against those we know, so there is an additional motivating factor creating this pull - the desire to see how others are doing and to judge our own achievement and/or happiness against them.