The Next New Thing

I logged in a bit ago to try to decide what to write for my end of the week post. Normally, I have a collection of voice memos on my phone of writing or blogging ideas, but the end of this week greeted me without inspiration, or at least without blogging inspiration. I’ll chalk it up to having a stressful parenting week. It happens.

When I logged in tonight (late Thursday) determined to go through the exercise of writing something, though, I was greeted with yet another notification (Google is getting pushy with those notifications these days, aren’t they?) about Blogger’s “new look” coming in April, and encouraging me to “upgrade now.”

Which leads me to two questions: why the need for the new look, and why is it an “upgrade?”

And perhaps a third question: why am I so reluctant?

You see, I really like change. As soon as I’m in a routine for too long, I feel the urge to mix it up. Sometimes this is a constructive thing, sometimes its a difficult thing, at least for Karen when I start talking about my wanderlust and wanting to relocate again. I’m an early adopter of new technologies. I like being in the loop. New look? I’m usually all about it.

Except for sometimes when the “new look” is ridiculous (new Mustang, anyone?).

Oddly, I don’t really follow trends in many other areas. I don’t really care what’s fashionable to wear, for example. I’m bothered by the idea of conformity in appearance. And, when it comes to social media site re-designs, I’m particularly wary. To be fair, though, I have reason to be.

Look at all of the “improvements” and “upgrades” that Facebook has deployed over the last few years (disclaimer: I’ve lost all of my love for Facebook), each making the site progressively more difficult to navigate while removing privacy incrementally.

Now, I’m not saying that all site re-designs are bad: Twitter’s most recent site update is a case in point. I’m curious as to why we feel that fresh, new, polished appearances are necessary, however, when they are frequently not accompanied by any changes in performance. Sometimes, it’s better to function with something tested and true…sort of like an old friend…rather than constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.

Aesthetic improvements are completely understandable when accompanied by new features or other performance tweaks. I get that. I don’t get why a platform or product that has built a reputation with a certain image suddenly decides to alter that image.

Are we really always so eager to leave the past and grab onto the next new thing? That leads to a set of problems all its own.

Image attribution: Sean MacEntee under Creative Commons.

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