I was driving down the highway the other day, and it ocurred to me that Facebook sucks. No, really it does. Sure, it lets us connect with friends and we all put up with it, but think about just how bad it is.
- The security features are hard to use. The defaults are often backwards (meaning you have turn them off) and it exposes way too much information even under the "strictest" settings.
- The email tool doesn't even have an attachment feature.
- The interface? It's not exactly intuitive, and every time you begin to understand how it works, they change it.
Why do we put up with it? I'm guessing because it's convenient and it's free. Everyone you know is on there and it provides a suitable environment for connecting with old friends. So even though it's highly flawed, we use it anyway. As I drove on, it occurred to me that just about all of the technology we use on a daily basis is highly flawed, but we put up with it because we have so few good choices.
How about your cell phone?
Did you ever think clearly about your cell phone. You have to pay to answer the phone. Think about that for a minute. You don't control who calls you, but if you get a call, you have to pay minutes for it. The phones sometimes don't work if you aren't near a cell tower. The calls can be unclear, or worse end suddenly. Compare that with your landline where I pay a flat fee and don't pay to receive calls. It almost always works.
Cell phones? They can lock up or have other problems requiring you to come up with work-arounds (and we develop the habit of seeking and using a work-around with little thought). Recently, I've been getting a SIM card error on my iPhone every so often. My solution is to restart, but I shouldn't have to. It should just work, right? Why do we put with it? Because the aggravation and the high monthly fee is the price we pay to always have a phone in our pocket. We should probably just throw them all away, but we don't. We just learn the work-arounds and move on.
How about Windows?
I've been using Windows since version 3.0. It blows up on a regular basis (the infamous blue screen problem), yet it remains the most popular OS by far in the world in spite of many alternatives. I wrote a blog post on my By Ron Miller blog in 2005 (2005!) about a blue screen error. It remains my most popular post because it's *still* happening. On a blog that gets about 300 hits a day, that blue screen post still accounts for about 1/3 of my traffic. You would think it would have been fixed by now, but it's still out there, and that's just one of many outstanding problems.
Linux and OSX aren't perfect either. They might not be quite as bad as Windows, but they still have issues.
Why do we let ourselves be bamboozled by this technology again and again? Why do we put up with it year after year when, even as it evolves, the core frustration remains? We put up with it because we love our gadgets and our machines. We live with the bugs because we have no choice, and perhaps because we believe at some point, someone will design something truly elegant, that works like a dream and has no known bugs. It's gotta be out there somewhere. It just has to be.