December 22nd, 2008
So maybe 开心网 counts as a Facebook clone, but so what? It’s better. Yup. I’ve been on Facebook for a while and just gotten more and more bored with it. Bored and frustrated. 开心网 isn’t doing that to me yet. Well, I haven’t been on 开心网 for very long, but I like it a lot more than I liked Facebook at the same stage.
Design: Usually Western websites are elegantly simple while Chinese websites are a chaotic mess of visual noise. Well, that’s a gross generalisation, but it generally works out that way. In fact, the main reason 新京报 is the first Chinese newspaper I read each day is because it is unusually simple and uncluttered in its layout. Facebook I’ve found to get more and more cluttered and noisy and chaotic, while 开心网 takes an easy, elegant, simple approach. It’s comfortable. It’s easy to find the stuff you want, you’re not searching through piles of clutter. Yup, 开心网 wins hands down in the design stakes.
Apps: Y’know, all that extra stuff you can add on to make it more fun. I’ve added a few on Facebook then promptly forgotten about them. They all just left me feeling they’re more hassle than they’re worth. I’ve also added a couple on 开心网, and they’re growing on me. 争车位 and 买房子 are my two favourites so far. They’re easy, simply designed games that don’t require much energy or attention, that can easily be left and picked up again a few hours later, and that still manage to be entertaining. Entertaining in that quick, simple distraction from work kind of way, y’know, when you’ve been focussing on some problem too long and need a short mental break, a distraction to allow your brain to reset. I’ve also added 读书, which looks very simple, but which I’ve yet to try out properly. I had a bit of fun creating a joke quizz with 知我多少, emphasis, in my case, on ‘joke’. In other words, all that extra stuff on Facebook wound up just driving me away. The extra bits on 开心网 have pulled me deeper in. 开心网 provides light and easy fun instead of still more clutter.
About the only area Facebook comes out ahead is that I have more friends on Facebook. But that’s ok, I’m sure I’ll slowly accumulate more friends on 开心网, and even if I don’t, it’s still fun.