On April 22, 2012, I joined Facebook. I know, I was a laggard and I’ve blogged as much on several occasions. I don’t have a Tee Vee, either, so go ahead and judge me for that, too. Readers might also be shocked to know that more than once Uncle Bob has accused me of “thinking too much.”
For many months, the fun of Facebook has faded for me and it feels like a chore. Something about it has changed; maybe the algorithms controlling my “newsfeed” have identified me as the perfect new owner for “Henry, the miniature Sicilian Donkey, rescued recently from severe neglect…in search of a permanent home.”
Maybe Mark Zuckerberg’s minions think I want to know that the sister of a girl from my high school Chemistry class got French Polynesia as the country she should live in, based on a quiz she took. I don’t know what her tropical drink name is or what her spirit animal might be. I’ve finally blocked all the quizzes; I’ll probably need to go in and retool my settings, though.
Then there is the disaster porn. Oh, I almost forgot the outrage porn posts, the ones where men and women fight with each other in a binary fashion, as though there are only two possible outcomes in life. Black or white, right or left, male or female, yes or no.
The subtle social control messages like “when you stop crying you should share this” always make the hair on the back of my neck go up a little. Don’t “should” me, bro.
I still like to see pictures of my friends, their children, and their pets. (Rest in peace, Blossom.) And I’m glad one of my friends got a new job. It’s just the “manufactured” information and the celebrity news I’m not particularly interested in reading. And the quiz results. Because of these things and a few others, I have “mixed emotions” about Facebook these days.
I block ads and I don’t give an answer when Facebook asks “why don’t you want to see this?” Because giving Facebook more information about me will enhance my user experience. Yeah, right.
One of my Facebook friends fell off the face of the Facebook a few months ago and I ran into her at a Farmers Market. She was an infrequent but interesting poster, always kind and thoughtful. I wondered where she went. As we chatted over the leeks and kale, I said “hey, why aren’t you on Facebook anymore?”
She let out a sigh and said “oh my goodness, it was such a distraction. It didn’t reflect much that was real in my world. And if I didn’t respond to a comment right away, people seemed put off.” Then she said “you know, if someone wants to see what I’m doing and how my life is going, they can come on over and visit me or call me on the phone. Time and life passes by so quickly. It’s the real things I want to know about people.” She had a point.
It’s a rainy and windy Monday, the last day of March roaring out like a lion. April showers bring May flowers and someone will post that today. I saw a crocus popping up in my mother’s garden, but I didn’t post it on Facebook.
Sometimes, in spite of the power of virtual reality, Facebook just zucks.