Facebook can drive me up the wall. Of course I use it and have no plans to stop. But here’s the thing. Sometimes I can’t keep myself from looking through the “people you may know” list. That list contains tons of information about people and places I totally forgot – some of which I kind of wish had stayed forgotten. Like seeing the names of the 3 girls who bullied me through middle-school and who single-handedly led the “cool kids” charge to attack me and drive me home crying every day for over a year. No Facebook, I really don’t want to “friend” them, thanks. Sorry if that makes me immature. The girl who brought the guy I went on a few dates with to beach week to stay at the house where I was – which is how I found out, incidentally, that he wasn’t into me. I’m sure you’re a much nicer person now, but I just really don’t care to find out. And the girl who I am still pretty sure slept with a boyfriend of mine while we were still dating – not to mention the ex-boyfriend himself. Yes, this is the stuff Facebook dregs up from my far off past and wants to reacquaint me with. And then I have to have this little conversation with myself. “Why are you upset at all? I mean, that was AGES ago! And you have a great family now, so its good that all that happened to get you here, right? You should rise above, don’t let it bother you. You’re more mature than that.” And yet I still feel icky for a bit afterward. Seeing some of these names takes me right back to whatever age and emotional place I was in all those years ago – and I still want to kick them in the shins.
So despite all this, there are still people who I’ve friended who fall into this list of those who have done not so nice things to me. And when I see a status pop up for them, it STILL triggers some kind of icky feeling, even if it’s tiny. So I finally just did it. I purged my friend list. And it felt GREAT.
So onto my next Facebook issue. I know a lot of people who use Facebook in a way that works well for me – posting what they’re up to, funny things that happened, etc . But I know a bunch of people who seem to use it only as a way to force a clearly pre-thought out image to the world. I shouldn’t judge, I know. Like most people, I pause and think about what I post and wonder how it will be interpreted. “Is this funny enough?” or “Do I really want people to know that I did that/ate that/said that/etc.”? or “Do I want the people from my gym/office wherever to know that I just ate a whole cake/complained about that aspect of work, etc.?” Yes, we all do some bit of editing – it’s natural and inevitable. But it does seem like some feeds are more wholly aimed at being a resume to let me know how great and cool someone is. Again, I hate that sound so judgmental here – I mean, I’m writing a blog that is all about me and totally selfish, so who am I to talk? But I’m kind of tired of those posts that seem to have a “here’s something great I did that you didn’t” tone, or “this post shows what an expert at food/wine/music/whatever I am”. Even if you are, there is a way to write it that doesn’t rub people’s face in it, isn’t there? I’ll preemptively say that yes, I’m sure that a psychologist would have a field day with me on this. My own psyche and list of inadequacies probably imposes a lot of emotion on top of these types of things. But moving on.
So I can’t figure out how to handle those feeds. People are legitimate in writing about things they did/like/whatever. They aren’t people I’ve had a problem with generally speaking, and some of their posts give me great info/links/etc . But I wish there was a way for Facebook to “learn” about the kind of posts that I describe above and leave them out of my feed. I already know that I’m pretty much a big dork, and I really don’t need other people’s posts to tell me that they are way cooler.
So Facebook, I love you, but sheesh. Can’t you only surface up things that make me feel good? Give those IBM guys who built Watson a call. Maybe they can help out.