I'm a big fan of social media, but there is always room for improvement. Which brings me to my wish list of things I'd like to see changed on the major social networks.
- De-confuse the "Hangouts" concept. Yes, Google, I know you love your "Hangouts" sub-brand, but why are IMs now considered "Hangouts"? The first time I used your new Google Chat interface on Google+, I had to test it with someone because I didn't know if I'd be thrust into a video chat with them right away. (Fortunately, I wasn't.) And while we're at it, why did you take away my ability to set myself as "available" or "away" for Google Chat on Google+? Could you bring that back, please, and make it more obvious which of my friends are actually online and active?
- Allow users to consolidate profiles. If you use Google Apps (as Small Act does), you'll probably end up with multiple Google+ profiles, particularly if you're managing your company's Google+ page. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of confusion for people trying to circle you or mention you in posts. I'd like to see a feature that allows you to merge your profiles while still being able to update your company's Google+ page.
- Shrink the cover photos, already. Google+ totally unnecessarily blew up their cover photos to the point where, on my 13" laptop, they consume the entire screen. I don't really see the point in forcing people to scroll to see your content. Can we shrink those back down again? Pretty please?
- Give me better control over my news feed. Not only would I like to permanently set my default view as "most recent," I also really want to be able to set dynamic filters. For example, since I'm not interested in sports, I'd like to be able to filter out posts containing the words "basketball," "football," various sports team names, etc. (or an even more sophisticated filter Facebook might build that just keeps all sports news out of my feed with a single click).
- Control over who sees the stuff I "like." Some of my friends have public profiles, or set their posts' visibility to "friends of friends." What that means is whenever I go to "like" their posts or photos, I have to double-check who it's visible to, since my "like" is now essentially a "share" and will show up in people's News Feeds unless they've specifically said they don't want to see my "likes and comments."
- Let me set blanket defaults for what types of content I see in my News Feed. I really don't want to see anybody else's "likes and comments" as separate items in my News Feed, but I have to manually tell Facebook that about each and every person I friend. Not cool, Facebook.
- Improve the mobile app experience. I know there are lots of third-party apps to choose from, but you'd think the first-party app would be...you know...better. My biggest irritation is how difficult it is to view my stream filtered by list. It takes several "clicks" to get there, which basically means I check my stream a lot less often now. Also, the photo-uploading utility chokes almost every time I try to use it.
- Offer the ability to create a portfolio hosted on LinkedIn. Currently, you can link to a few things within Projects (Slideshare, mostly), but it would be really nice if LinkedIn housed creative profiles natively.
- Make applying for jobs on other websites easier. A friend of mine has been unemployed for awhile and vents this frustration a lot. Why isn't there an "import LinkedIn resume" utility on every job application site? Many allow you to import a pdf or txt file, but then you basically have to re-enter all the information all over again, plus fill in fields for things that may not be on your print resume. LinkedIn is a comprehensive source of your previous employment and education data that would make things a lot easier, and this would encourage people to keep their LinkedIn profiles up-to-date.
- Allow us to be pro-active with our feed filtering. Most boards fall into bigger, site-wide categories, so I'd love to be able to set defaults NOT to follow any boards falling under the "Wedding" category, for example. That way, when I follow a new friend on Pinterest, I'm not overwhelmed by content I'm disinterested in and forced to manually go in and unfollow several of their boards.
- Keep cracking down on spam. This seems to be a problem in the main category feeds. I'll be merrily scrolling through the Everything -> Geek section, when suddenly there's a pin about weight loss amidst all the Doctor Who spoilers. This has improved lately, but it still remains a problem.
How would you improve Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest? Post your ideas in the comments!