If there's a lesson that Web communities of every stripe keep teaching us it's this: people hate change. Waking up to a new Facebook user interface, it seems, is the social network equivalent of realizing that you didn't leave your housekeys in their usual place when you came home last night.
For the second time in 2009, the world's largest online social network has introduced a major UI change and (as has become their custom) the masses immediately responded with vitriolic Facebook groups* - a remarkable act of dissent not unlike picketing a sign factory. But this is a standard feature of every user revolt on Facebook. I wrote about the most recent one just this past February. But to the traditional media, the idea of a popular insurrection on Facebook is nothing short of newsworthy. Both the Old Grey Lady and the CSM** took note of the user protests in their coverage of the UI change.
Think about that last sentence for a second: two major newspapers took the time to cover a user interface change on a Website. Truly we are living in the future.
Both do a little hand-waving at the end of their posts to indicate that this is nothing new to them, of course, but I don't recall any "major" news outlets covering Facebook's UI improvements in February - and the current uproar has nothing to do with privacy, like the mainstream headline-grabbing Beacon from last year. I particularly got a kick from this bit in the Monitor piece:
"But we wonder if Facebook staffers anticipated how vociferous the opposition would get."
As much as I love The New York Times, there's a million more insightful places to turn for news about the Web. But instead of focusing on covering the things that blogs don't cover well (like the war in Afghanistan, say) your newspaper is going to start looking more like Mashable every day.
* My favorite is this one, which lists itself as a "Beliefs & Causes" group. It has only slightly fewer members than an anti-cancer group in the same category.
** Is the Monitor still "traditional media" now that it's online only? Yes. "Traditional media" is increasingly a state of mind and not a fetishization of distribution methodology as it has been for the last couple of years.