Sunday, November 06, 2011

Words That Strike Terror: "Coming Soon - eMusic's New Look"

Over the last few years, it's become almost a routine for people to freak out every time a social network or website they use modifies their interface. Most of these I've shrugged off. For instance, the half-dozen or so times Facebook has "improved" over the last few years haven't really bothered me much, although I see people on my feed infuriated by each change. But I certainly understand the problem. People don't like the stuff they're using every day to change radically. It usually feels like everything's been rearranged just as you were getting used to it.

Last week, Google modified the look of Google Reader, and it really pissed me off. And I think it gives me a little more insight into how this process happens. One of the things Google did was get rid of the "share" button on the reader, and other "social network"-type functions. The strategy seems to be to get more people onto Google's social network, Google+ (and away from Facebook, presumably). But here's the problem: when developers are making these changes, they see everything in terms of it's "intended use." The "share" button is intended to enhance a social network of Google Reader users. They don't see all the weird little hacks that people figure out, ways to use a function that have nothing to do with their intended function. So, for example, the "share" button on Google Reader, which I have never used to actually share anything (since I don't have any "friends" or "followers" on Google Reader, and don't really know how to even go about getting them). I use--that is, I USED--it to bookmark stuff. This was an essential part of the function. With the huge amount of blogs, tumblrs, twitters and websites I have in there, this is the only way I can ever hope to keep track of stuff. I will now have to figure out a different way to do this.

And now I receive an email from eMusic with the subject line you see above. Hopefully, this will be another thing that doesn't really effect my life. But I'm a bit nervous.


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