Oh Facebook, how I hate you. You finally made me join, years after I’d seen the best minds of my generation spiral down into your shoddy UI embracing streams, ‘looking for an angry fix’. For all that time I’d refused to join on ethical lines: your invasive signup insistence to know everything about me was just a little bit ridiculous in order for me to simply share pictures with my great aunts and lightly stalk my high school crush. After years and years of using it for business though – of running company pages even before there were such things – I finally succumbed. Peer-pressured, I was driven to the cluttered blue and white muddle of information spewing forth from your screens by an E-vite replacement scheme. It was the events that made me do it in the end, once I’d moved back to a big city and was reconnecting with old friends. They would invite me to parties, you see, and I had no idea, because I wasn’t on the “Big White f” with my attendance as easily obtainable as a click away on their friend list.
Who could be so intrusive and obsequious all at once?
It was not only ethics that kept me away, let’s be clear on that. I pride myself on appreciating beautiful, well-made things and the fact of the matter is, you are neither. Your user interface has been a jumbled mess for years: janky columns hiding here and there. Where are the settings again? And how do I see who liked me back, and dammit, I don’t want to see where everyone has checked in. Or when they last logged on. Get a life people. And those reams upon reams of check boxes and options if I dared to navigate your “privacy” settings. Then, just when I thought I maybe understood something, you had a knack for completely changing your look and feel every 6 months or so. What kind of business could get away with such a thing, I kept thinking. Who could be so intrusive and obsequious all at once? And for the record, I could never, ever figure out why anyone ever followed a brand page, even the ones I managed.
Then came the ads…
And then, then came the ads: a few at first, just on sidebars, almost acceptable back in the days when you could even tell what was an ad or not on Google (Oh how we miss those halcyon days…). But no, you didn’t stop there. They eeked their way onto the timeline, every 20 posts, then every 10, then 5. Hey, and the ads were good too; for some reason you seemed to always know what I was talking about, what I might even be interested in. Well-played. Creepy though. And then, recently the page reach dropped out completely for brands. Well that was an interesting switch. Thanks for ruining part of my livelihood. It’s kinda hard to get a small business to pay me to post when they now only get 1% of the eyeballs they used to. Gee Facebook, and I thought you liked me.
My dainty little Faustian bargain with Mr. Zuckerberg
In the couple of years since I took the plunge, I find myself posting more on you too; feeling obliged to like things as people like me back. And yes, I feel that narcissistic, ego-stroking love when I post a series of pictures about how awesome my life is. For some reason, I tend to leave out the shitty days when I miss the bus in the rain and have a day full of meetings in basements. Yes, Facebook, you have made me a “life curator” of my own existence. And this is why I hate you. Now it is all about people showing off and how “My life is cooler”. Now you are full of baby pictures, of tangential people I knew many years ago who are honeymooning in far off places, of internet memes I saw four days ago on Reddit or Flipboard, and crappy petitions that I will never sign. You are the land of my parents. That about says it all. Where they can catch up with what’s going on in my life, and where I have signed a dainty little Faustian bargain with Mr. Zuckerberg to allow them access. Geesh, Mom and Dad, if you really wanted to know what was going on in my life you’d follow me on Twitter.
Hashtag hell filled with selfies, crappy food pics, and duck faces
And then you went and bought Instagram too? Which gave what was a pretty cool idea this pedantic populist sheen and catapulted a decent photo sharing space into a hashtag hell filled with selfies, crappy food pics, and duck faces. Nice. You know what your problem is Facebook? Not enough sarcasm. At least with Twitter they encourage that. Yeah, you turned out to be earnest in your photo-sharing ease for all ages, and somehow simultaneously devious, with your obvious pining for ad dollars over everything else. I’ve got a right mind to quit you, only I probably can’t – how would I know whose birthday it is or who leveled up on Candy Crush today? I might have to actually communicate with those folks again. Or not. All I ever wanted was to be invited to the damn party.