Monday, November 09, 2009

Facebook Frustration

A popular meme on Facebook at the moment is the 'dislike button' - the oft wished for counterpoint to the 'like' button that has accompanied every status update for the past few months.

Like most things that are popular for no good reason - I'm strongly opposed to the idea of the dislike button, as to me, as it would serve to provide yet another outlet for people to bitch online.

When Facebook introduced the News Feed feature, the entire experience changed - rather than the tried-and-true system in which you're only presented with information you pulled down about the people you care to look up, you're now accosted at login with every twitch and snort from each of the many acquaintances you've acquired over your Facebooking career. Since most people tend to have more acquaintances than close friends, it means that a lot of the information onscreen is of little interest.

Thanks to Facebook, I now know that people I know:

... enjoy pleasant weather

... like eating pizza

... are fans of smiling

... enjoy the beach
... don't like cigarette. Just one. Unsure as to how they feel about multiple cigarettes though
... love their MOM. It might be an anagram for something cool that the kids are into
... are fans of summer (which dovetails nicely with the warm weather, I suppose)

... don't feel at all ashamed to share with the world that a quiz that confuses simple homonyms considers them a genius
... appreciate hugs
... are patriotic

... will happily take quizzes with the absurd premise of "What female superstar mom / wife are you?" and not hastily take the results down when the utterly insipid fruits of their fifteen minutes of box ticking steps forward onto the friend feed for scrutiny. "You are beautiful but not flamboyant or glamorous"? How the #@¢$ would any quiz on Facebook be able to tell you that? Shame on every party involved in bringing this quiz into the world and propagating its use.

Those are just a few of the dumb entries that pertain to apps and the 'fan' feature - I've decided not to go copying and pasting the status entries that consist of people bitching about work, bitching about friends, bitching about school, bitching about big dirty bitches, or worse, exposing their cretinous misunderstanding of politics / economics / the world in general.

Granted, the only thing worse than people engaging in such mindless tomfoolery is the guy who catalogues it and whinges about it later, but when I haven't talked to a person in months and these are the snippets of their personality that I'm being bombarded with, it makes me think less of that person. The appearance of some brain-pain-inducingly banal update on the friend feed lends it a sense of urgency that it doesn't deserve, and it only makes it more difficult to find the updates that are worthwhile.

This whole thing could be resolved in a few ways. For one, I could learn to ignore the nonsense (which isn't very likely). Secondly - I could set up parameters for my friend feed so that it ignores certain apps / people - I'm grateful to the Facebook people for providing these small mercies, and have used it to dispose of the more cognitively deficient people on my friend-list.

Third - and this is the one I like best - people could subscribe to the same etiquette I do:
Sign up for a dumb app? Don't let it post to your feed!
Want to update people to your status every four minutes? Get on twitter and let people follow you instead!
Feel like bitching about your day? Shut the fuck up!

Remember folks - chances are that you're an idiot, and the more often you pop up in someone's news feed, the more regularly you'll present an opportunity for them to reaffirm that opinion of you.


Ultan said...

It seems to me Sully that you, I, and anyone else for that matter, could directly influence, as in stop, their pointless meanderings much more effectively, in a preventative rather than the curative approach we're currently employing, were a dislike button to indeed exist! ;-)

Jacob (ROK Sojourn) said...

I have dozens of people and hundreds of applications blocked in my feed.

but yeah... the feed does nothing to bolster my faith in humanity