Google and Mashable vied for the geekiest April Fools Day jokes this year, with between Google's new "Gmail Tap," mobile app (which allows users to text in Morse Code), and Conan O'Brien supposedly taking over the social media news giant, Mashable. I'm not sure who won, but both all-day long performances were pretty impressive.
All of these jokes about changes brings me to my main point, which is not a joke: A complaint I've been hearing over and over and over ad nauseum about every single change that takes place on the web from Facebook's timeline to Second Life's upgrades to Twitter's ad placement is, "Why can't they just leave things alone?!?!?"
Really? Most of these social networks we're using on a daily basis now have been created in the last 7-10 years. What if we had just decided in 1999 to "leave things alone"? Most of us would still be using those huge console "car phones," thinking we were Soooo up to date, or e-mail (just barely).
What if we had stopped in the 80s? We would still be finding each other in the local phone directory and writing letters to our friends, delivered by snail mail.
What if Alexander Graham Bell's wife, had convinced him to just have another cup of tea, and leave things alone? The phone directory wouldn't even be necessary, and we really would be communicating by Morse Code and the pony express, or smoke signals, or whatever. What if Ben Franklin had decided he didn't want to rock the boat with all of this "electricity" stuff?
Yeah, sometimes the social networks make "improvements" that are just ridiculous in hindsight, and we as humans are naturally resistant to change - especially when it comes to our creature comforts. We're also prone to complaining. Several of my friends (who just discovered Facebook within the last couple of years) have been complaining for several months now that the features they had learned how to use weren't working properly anymore - because they refused to upgrade to Facebook's new timeline. Now that Facebook has forced the timeline on most of the users (after months of warnings and opportunities to upgrade voluntarily), those same dear friends of mine are complaining about the new timeline's features. Most don't really have anything specific to say about the features or functionality, but they are instead just upset about the fact that their page "looks" different. Sigh.
This same resistant-to-change-rut is easy to get into when it comes to web page technology. Tim and the crew at WebRev have been rolling out new features to make their clients' websites more available by mobile and more usable for online purchases. It's very easy, however, to think, "Hey, I just updated my website (five years ago). I'll wait awhile. A lot of changes have taken place in the last five years - and three years - and even the last year, and your customers and readers know it. Do you?