Disclaimer: I am a calm person who truly does not like to say negative things about anyone else, I believe that everyone should be entitled to do whatever they want without judgement as long as they don’t hurt others, society, or the planet, but this is something that’s really been grinding my gears so I have to get it out there for the sake of digital discussion. Consider it a rant to be forgotten.
Facebook, come here, sit down, no I’m not going to slap you, stop wincing. Just come here, sit down, and listen. I know that you’re the biggest thing in the world and that you suck in more users than an all-you-can-spike day at the local heroin den. I know that you think that you know best, and that everything you do is for our own good.
I know that one of your round-bespectacled product gurus who probably hasn’t worn shoes in six years except for that trek up Annapurna thought it would be a nice way to get people to look back on their photos and experiences with their friends. “Guys,” he probably said as he drove through the Facebook open space on his segway before scurrying down the rock climbing wall to the management zen pool complete with blue and white koi, “I have an idea, friendiversaries.”
“We can show people how long they’ve been friends with their friends of Facebook, and those people will share that for their other friends to see. It can remind people about fun moments they have shared that they may have forgotten about while encouraging more content on our platform.”
“It’s like successfully raising two birds from one egg!”
Everyone must have nodded and the underlings went off to develop it. That is all well and good until those updates started showing up whenever I open Facebook.
I was a little late to the game, I admit it. I didn’t have a Facebook page until 2010, a full 6 years after it launched at the University of Michigan when I was a freshman in college. Everyone was asking why I wasn’t on Facebook like I had just thrown a cup of scalding tea all over the Queen of England. My ultra-connected young professional New York friends couldn’t understand that Facebook was not necessarily for everyone.
Until, of course, everyone joined it and now it really is for everyone. I’ve come around, I admit Facebook, I love you, you help me keep in touch with my American friends and family in a way that would not be possible without you. You help me get friends to the events I organize, you give me a way to effortlessly contact any of my contacts, and you keep a pretty solid collection of my photos from traveling and life in general.
But stop pretending like you were around from the beginning. If I’ve been friends with someone on Facebook for 6 years, it’s because that’s when I joined Facebook. That’s not how long I’ve actually been friends with them. Many of my closest friends I’ve known my entire life, who gives a shit how long we’ve been connected on Facebook?
Alright, alright, it’s harmless, right? Just look at some of my photos and be happy that I have friends? Fine, you know what, I’ll ignore it and hope that Friendiversaries go away. The benefits of Facebook still far outweigh the costs of annoying features that you can’t turn off.
But wait, what’s that? Nearly every single time the sun rises (so, like, almost every day) what do I see in my Facebook feed? “So-and-so has been friends with so-and-so on Facebook for who cares how many years!” The product Brahim was right! People are sharing that now! “Yeah, I love my friend! Look at how we love each other for a specific number of years, yayyyy!!!”
There is no way to filter out these posts. The only option is to hide the post, which usually causes you to start seeing fewer posts from that person. That’s often not what I want to happen. I, like many people, check Facebook all day long to see who is going to my next event, messages from people around the globe, and who is replying to my comments… If there was only an option to block that one type of content from every showing up in my life again!!
You know Facebook, it’s not you. It’s me. I can sit here and furiously type away about something so trivial while six-year-old boys get blown to pieces in shelling in Syria, or while homosexuals await “trial” in an Iranian prison. When I think about those things, suddenly the idea of celebrating friendship seems overwhelmingly positive. I’m sorry.