Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fixing Facebook

A while back I complained about the way Facebook was forcing its Messenger app on all of us who used to like to check Facebook on our mobile devices.  The only alternative to the Facebook/Messenger one-two punch and its concomitant invasion of privacy was to use the browser on your device to see and use the full version of Facebook.  It is buggy as hell and frequently dies even on my iPad...but it's better than giving Facebook the right to send texts and calls on my phone, along with all the other nasty little hidden surprises and tricks that are used by the marketing tool which Facebook has become.

For about ten minutes it looked like something called Ello would actually have a chance at replacing Facebook, but that appears to have fizzled out for now, leaving us stuck with Facebook the way we were stuck with VHS and Blu-ray even though Betamax and HD were better.

So I guess we need to try to fix Facebook "from within," as it were.  Here's how I would want to begin if this were my private universe:

• I don't want to see any more photos of your restaurant food.  I'm glad you are enjoying your meal but I don't need to see it.  Now, if the lasagne you just made yourself looks like it should be in a cookbook, that I do want to see.  But if you like the look of the souffl√© you were just served at Le Bon Pain, just eat the damned thing.

• Please, no more reposts of other peoples' cat pictures or funny videos or whatever.  If it's not your own experience, keep it to yourself.  Everybody already sees what George Takei has posted.  Pretty sure we all see Upworthy and all the others too.

• No more pictures of your tattoos.  Please.  It's way too much information, especially those still-inflamed close-up shots.

• Please post nothing that starts along the lines of, "98% people won't repost this...."  You're right.  We won't.  I personally resent the hell out of feeling bullied even when it's to agree with a cause that I already support.  Post your own impassioned plea for vaccinating children, rescuing pit bulls, or sympathizing with those who suffer from depression.  It means so much more.

• Please do share your important life events.  I want to know what happened with your life and your family.  I want to know when your kids achieve something or say something cute.  Hell, I want to know when your cat achieves something or does something cute.  As long as it's YOUR cat, not some bloody generic Internet cat.

• If you are posting for a site or cause that I support, DON'T SPAM.  I used to be a big fan of pages like "Being Liberal" and "Doctor Who" until they began posting ten freaking times every hour, twenty-four hours a day.  It's enough to send you screaming into the arms of Fox News.  It's too much.  [EDIT: As I write this addendum early on a Sunday morning, 12 of the 20 most recent notifications posted to my Facebook wall are from Being Liberal.  TWELVE.  It's exhausting.]

I could go on, but this is already starting to spam you.  You get the idea.  Keep it about you and let the rest of us decide for ourselves which of the big, popular sites we want to look at.  It's you that I love.  It's you with whom I want to keep in contact.  When I want an "Ohh myyy" I'm perfectly capable of checking out George Takei all by myself.

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