Why is it that every major Facebook change seems to also be a major public relations disaster? With Mark Zuckerberg, the darling of mass media, considered some sort of business guru, you would think that there would be a little more thought that goes into the company's approach to privacy, major user interface changes, and how those are communicated to the very people those changes affect.
When it comes to innovative ways to enhance or expand the Facebook experience, Mark Zuckerberg and team seem to be well ahead of the curve. But when it comes to communicating what it’s doing, Facebook seems to stuck in the stone age.
Admittedly, they do a good job getting news and information to members of the press and blogosphere who can share details of announcements to broader audiences but why isn’t anyone at Facebook talking to the members themselves? Why doesn’t anyone at Facebook ever send an e-mail to inform members about problems and how they are being fixed? Why doesn’t anyone at Facebook write up some guidelines on how to address changes to things like privacy settings? Why doesn’t anyone at Facebook post an alert on members walls to let them know that something important needs their attention?
Instead, what seems to occur is that you have to rely on your 'friends' to post information about any problems or changes and, inevitably, some of that information will be incorrect or incomplete. That makes for a very frustrating experience
Too often, Facebook fail to provide documentation on how to use new features and turn everything on by default without notice. The company posts something on its fan site and assume that every member will see it. It needs to treat its members with a lot more respect. It should be sending each of its members a link to information - either in their walls or in their inboxes - so they can easily find it and, more importantly, so that they get the correct information.
I am not a user, but the fact is that Facebook is a communications platform and the changes that are made to their interface immediately and drastically affect millions of people - people that don't have a choice in those changes. That kind of impact requires complete and deliberate transparency when communicating with your customers not the 'guess-what-we-just-did' approach Facebook appear to favour.