Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 20, 2010 10:10AM

Turns on a dime. Whether you want it to or not.

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Also, it would yell loudly about who you were, where you were going and who you were going to meet there. There’d be a switch to turn that off. It would be located behind the catalytic converter on the underside of the car, and would be functional only when the car was moving at freeway speeds.

* * *

An interesting conversation unfolded after this first appeared on ReadWriteWeb. Here’s what I wrote there:

For those of us who develop apps or manage engagement strategy, is there any platform more infuriating, any terrain less stable, any regime more prone to arbitrary and capricious rule changes than Facebook?

Goodbye “fans”; hello “like”. Goodbye boxes; hello profile tabs. Goodbye contests-with-dairy-products-as-a-prize; hello you-can’t-have-contests-with-dairy-products-as-a-prize.

I’ll say this much: My work in Facebook has allowed me to better embrace the impermanence of all things.

A commenter suggested this is a radical field, change is to be expected, and (to paraphrase) roll with it, dude. I replied (grumpily) that “constant incremental Agile-style change, I can cope with. More significant change based on some kind of rationale or, better yet, roadmap, I can embrace. But for years, Facebook has been notorious for dropping bombshells from out of the blue, and making unannounced or poorly document under-the-hood changes that break apps and make developers’ lives hell.”

Can you tell I carry a grudge from the promotion guidelines fiasco?

Anyway, what do you think? Do I need to lighten up and embrace Facebook’s turbulence, even when clients’ budgets are on the line? Or is that just giving in to (quote from that same reply) to “disregard for customer, user and developer communities”?

Noise to Signal - a cartoon by Rob Cottingham

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"budgets on the line"? boy thats a tough one there dude.
are you building or maintaining an app for facebook? that would be an interesting blog but you're really vague here.
Love the cartoon. So true. I can't answer your question, but your description reminds me of being a store manager in a restaurant chain, getting quixotic commands from management, poorly thought out recipes and completely pointless changes in process. I decided that someone along the chain of command had to justify his job by constantly coming up with new programs. One the other hand, the idea of showing up at a location and asking what needed changing never occurred to them.
You could apply all your skills to undermining fb so everyone doesn't depend on it. (No, I have no idea how. You're the one with skills, right?)

Failing that, welcome to American business management.
Thanks for the comments, folks. vzn, so far we have three apps under our belt. The experience has been... instructive. (That said, I'm very proud of our work.)

Ardee, you have my sympathies. In some ways, so does Facebook, actually; they're constantly watching their backs, fending off potential challenges by coopting new models of interaction and engagement. (You like Twitter? We'll change your home page to be more like Twitter. You like Foursquare? We'll introduce Places.)

Steve, Bonnie and (best user name EVER) nerd cred, thanks muchly - nice to know I can strike a nerve with my own pet peeve! (end mixed metaphor)
The FB cr_p, that's how I came to Salon.com. Everything you have said is so true. I got the "confirm your identity" roadblock, was totally locked out. Now, on my new account, I can use it freely, except if I want to comment on a fan site. They they ask you for your credit card #. I don't know what they're trying to do now, but it think it's probably underhanded and was done while I was sleeping.