9 votes

Social networking and dog food

6 comments

  1. [6]
    Omnicrola
    Link
    Interesting, didn't know about any of the internal workings of FB. However I don't think the author made it clear what their concern is aside from the general behavior of FB. How do they think...

    Interesting, didn't know about any of the internal workings of FB. However I don't think the author made it clear what their concern is aside from the general behavior of FB. How do they think this internal split into two apps leads to the behaviour we're observing in the news? There's a lot of guessing to be done, but i expected something more detailed and nuanced from someone who actually works there.

    1. [5]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I thought Rachel's intentions were clear. Allow me to elaborate, from the point of view I'm getting: Dogfooding – using your own tools – implies that you will necessarily want the tools to be...

      I thought Rachel's intentions were clear. Allow me to elaborate, from the point of view I'm getting:

      Dogfooding – using your own tools – implies that you will necessarily want the tools to be good, because you're among the people using them. I think that much is clear.

      I think Rachel's point is to show that the disconnect from using the same tools you're developing – because you're no longer dogfooding, because you're engaged in a different, almost distinct medium from the one you're working on – goes on to provide conditions for the disconnect between the authors of Facebook (the programmers, the designers, the engineers) and the end quality of their product (i.e., Facebook itself).

      I think Rachel's saying that, since the people making the thing are no longer as deeply-entwined with the thing they're making, the people making it may no longer care as much about the result.

      Which then allows the conditions for malpractice or even malice to arise.

      5 votes
      1. [3]
        Greg
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That was very much my read on it as well, and it's definitely a risk, but I think her implied solution of "leave it as it was" only works in the narrow case of users like her: people for whom it's...

        I think Rachel's saying that, since the people making the thing are no longer as deeply-entwined with the thing they're making, the people making it may no longer care as much about the result.

        Which then allows the conditions for malpractice or even malice to arise.

        That was very much my read on it as well, and it's definitely a risk, but I think her implied solution of "leave it as it was" only works in the narrow case of users like her: people for whom it's primarily a work account anyway.

        As someone who went to university when Facebook was the way to stay in touch, it's unequivocally a personal account in my mind (and the fact I don't really use it anymore doesn't change that categorisation!). Even at an entirely unrelated company, having my personal Facebook account tied in with my company's account and using it to log in to things like the ad manager just felt wrong, and the blurring of whether I was performing a given action (even a payment, sometimes) as myself or as the company was very disconcerting. I imagine that goes double if the company itself is Facebook.

        Moving it all out to https://business.facebook.com/ and having a separate login/password that uses a work email address made the entire user journey much more comfortable; exactly as Rachel says, one tab is for work and the other is personal. Since her life was never really entwined with the ostensibly personal one (beyond "work friends") it worked for her to keep it all in one place, whereas I very much appreciate the hard distinction between managing corporate advertising in one tab and seeing throwback photos of my 17 year old self in the other.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          If I may engage in a semi-related monologue... The problem of the disconnect between the maker and the user is not a new one. It used to be that you meet the people you forged the axe for every...

          If I may engage in a semi-related monologue...

          The problem of the disconnect between the maker and the user is not a new one. It used to be that you meet the people you forged the axe for every other day, and they could tell you what went wrong so you can fix it soon. Communities were closer, tighter.

          Globalization made things a lot more difficult to keep track of. The impact of your actions, especially on the Internet, is no longer as evident as it was before. The growing abstraction of the work we do means we're also abstracted from the effect it has. It's easy to notice you're off when the scale is small: with friends, with family, in a small company – and the larger the scale, the more obscure the effect becomes.

          The first instinct for many people – myself included – would be to ask "How do we fix this?". It is, after all, a problem – dare I say, a major problem. It's not okay when you feel helpless to do something about the bad things in the world – especially when it's your job to build, fix, or improve.

          And... I don't think it needs a solution – not a direct one, anyway. I don't think there's a bandage big enough to cover the whole issue.

          I think what has to happen is some form of adaptation. What that would look like, let alone how would one go about implementing it, is beyond me. Maybe some day I will be able to contribute my part to the effort, where others may build upon it for something that will live on.

          1 vote
          1. Greg
            Link Parent
            This is definitely a take on things that resonates with me. I quite often find myself talking about how crucial it is to make sure incentives are actually aligned with the right outcomes, and how...

            This is definitely a take on things that resonates with me. I quite often find myself talking about how crucial it is to make sure incentives are actually aligned with the right outcomes, and how dramatically things can go sideways from even a tiny discrepancy or oversight there. As you say, though, the hard part is figuring out what comes next...

            1 vote
      2. Omnicrola
        Link Parent
        Apologies, I didn't make my question very clear when commenting on someone else's lack of clarity. I concluded the same thing, however what I felt was lacking was exactly what specific disconnect...

        Apologies, I didn't make my question very clear when commenting on someone else's lack of clarity.

        I think Rachel's saying that, since the people making the thing are no longer as deeply-entwined with the thing they're making, the people making it may no longer care as much about the result.

        I concluded the same thing, however what I felt was lacking was exactly what specific disconnect the author thought she was observing. Maybe she doesn't have a specific example and it's more of a feeling of unease at not following good processes, that's fine too.

        Maybe I'm reading to much between the lines. What I thought was implied by the post was that the author has noticed something specific (or several somethings) about FBs evolution as a company, and attributes that to the movement away from having a blended profile for both personal and business use. That would be reverse reasoning (observe outcome, search for cause). She may also be reasoning forward and predicting that this lack of dogfooding will lead to bad behavior but doesn't know specifically what. However her closing comment about a prediction makes me think she's concerned with something specific.

        1 vote