Okay, so last night I was awoken by a member of my family at exactly 12:46AM to stop my phone from continually beeping. I was apparently sleeping right through it so I was startled and surprised that it had been going off all that time. What I discovered was that one of my Facebook friends had sent a group message to over hundred people and my phone kept repeatedly sounding an alert notification whenever anyone of the over a hundred Facebook users responded to it. In my half awake delirium I quickly told the Messages app on my iPhone to archive the message thinking it would stop there so I could go back to sleep. I couldn’t be more wrong. I woke up this morning to find that the notifications never actually stopped. I don’t know if my phone went off more last night but I definitely started getting more new response alerts this morning. I literally had to access Facebook messages from a desktop Internet browser and tell it to “Leave the Conversation.”
After looking into matters further, I am now in no way, shape or form bothered by the Facebook friend that sent the message. My frustration is solely with Facebook. Facebook lives in a universe where everyone should conform and assimilate into whatever manic changes they believe need to be made to their ecosystem. One day an option will be on the screen, the next it will be either moved or removed. We users of the system can never keep up. There is no announcement ahead of time and no way for users to opt out of the majority of changes made. The system is also severely fragmented which is clearly demonstrated by our inability to officially “leave” a conversation from our smartphones. But yet, we still use it.
Now, back on the topic at hand. Awhile back about a year or more ago, I actually tried to send a group message to all members of my family. At that time, Facebook was limiting messages to I think no more than around twenty-five. I could be wrong about the exact number but I do remember there being enough of a limitation that it kept me from sending the message to the entire family. Now it seems the recipient limit has been increased to 250 according to this Facebook Help page. While this may not seem like a lot, think about how many people have their smartphones set to alert them each time they get a new message. For example, User 23 logs in and responds to the group message. The server then sends all sorts and types of notifications to User 1 through User 250 to let them know of the new response. Someone else responds and it’s the same cycle over again. All while everyone’s smartphones are going off like mad causing major frustration and battery drainage and possibly their email inboxes filling up with notification messages.
My other frustration is Facebook not educating its users properly. A “private” Facebook message is only private when it’s between two people. Any more than that it becomes a group message where everyone can see anyone’s response and likewise get all those applicable new message notification alerts.
Can you imagine the amount of times Facebook’s servers get pinged each time someone responds to a message and how many outbound email, SMS and push notifications have to be sent out thereafter? No wonder both the site and mobile app are both so slow most of the time! At least for the mobile app it feels like we’re back in the days of dialup. Facebook has no concept of how to properly regulate and manage bandwidth consumption in their own ecosystem. Who knows, maybe they don’t even care to. After all, people will still use Facebook no matter what changes are made or problems are going on in Mark Zuckerberg’s virtual playground.