My cousin added her hometown to Facebook today. (I know this because Facebook all but screamed it at me.) I cannot fathom why anyone would choose to do that. Ever.
Don’t misread; I can understand in the abstract why a person would want to add his or her hometown to Facebook. My problem is in understanding why anyone (let alone one of my blood relatives) would want to tell the world that he or she grew up in this particular town. (Admittedly, I’m pretty sure that I have more hatred for the town than the rest of my family put together, but even adjusting for my bias doesn’t change the fact that the town is a shithole.)
And the fact that my cousin added her hometown to Facebook isn’t even the most shocking thing I saw there today. No, that honor goes to the over 2,000 people who liked the shithole town on Facebook. That made me sad and angry and disgusted all at once.
Also, you can like random, crappy towns on Facebook now? What is that about? In a way it does kind of speak to the ubiquity of the Internet, though. Not 20 years ago people were making impassioned speeches at the school board meetings in the shithole town arguing that the district shouldn’t waste money on “newfangled fads and gadgets like computers.” (That is an honest to God thing that a person said in the 1990s.) And now someone put the shithole town on Facebook. (Also, it should be noted that the person was arguing that the district should use grant money it had gotten specifically to buy computers on stuff other than computers. I am not lying when I call the town a shithole.)
It’s still November, right? Advent hasn’t even started yet. (I know this for a fact because my physical 2012 calendar is Catholic and it is chock full of helpful information like that.) So why did one of the morons that I went to high school with like an image on Facebook to let us all know that she’s keeping Christ in Christmas?
I so wanted to ask if she was going to be including any pagan tree worship in her Christ-centered Christmas celebrations. But I refrained. I don’t have any real desire to be confrontational (since I don’t like confrontation and all that) and I don’t really like her enough to care that much.
I’m afraid the morons I went to high school with are going to be just as annoying during Advent and Christmas as they were during the election. I’m preparing myself to see outrage over fake “war on Christmas” bullshit, but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to deal with it. I may just have to unfriend people. I don’t want to unfriend people; I want to be the bigger, more accepting person. But I think being subjected to too much conservative outrage is bad for my health.
(Lest you think I’m being overly critical when I call these former high school classmates that I, admittedly, dislike “morons,” one of them home schools her kids and gleefully announced on Facebook that she was using a science curriculum called Answers in Genesis. Apparently, that’s a real thing. And it is completely crazypants, in my humble opinion. I don’t know enough synonyms for insane to fully express my opinion on using the book of Genesis to teach science. So, yeah, morons.)
I hope to God that my worries will be unfounded and that this will be just another example of my brain’s fondness for jumping to the worst possible conclusion for no good reason. I don’t think that’s going to happen, though; I think my fears will be justified. One of them pledged to keep Christ in Christmas in November, for crying out loud. If you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go say the Serenity Prayer 50 times.
Every time I check my Facebook account I am assaulted by suggested ads/pages/what have you. And I get it. Facebook’s trying to prove its value by using algorithms to drive traffic to various official Facebook pages and whatnot. I have no problem with that.
My problem is with the algorithm that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t really understand how people use Facebook. Be honest, how many of your Facebook “friends” do you actually consider friends in the real world? My Facebook “friends” can be broken down into three groups: actual friends, family, and a bunch of people I don’t really like. Yet the suggested pages algorithm seems to give a lot of weight to the pages my “friends” have liked. As a result, Facebook insists on suggesting I like pages that I am morally opposed to, such as Wal-Mart, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I could tell Facebook that I didn’t want to like a given page. I mean, Amazon and Netflix both give the user the ability to tell the algorithm that it screwed up. Amazon even lets the user say that a given item in his or her purchase history was a gift and therefore shouldn’t be used in the algorithm. In my humble opinion, that is a good, user-focused algorithm. I wish Facebook’s algorithm were half as good.
Until Facebook’s algorithm improves I will continue to be offended by my suggested pages. (Yes, offended. Does Facebook really think I am the type of person who would like Wal-Mart on Facebook? Because eewww.) In the meantime I guess I’ll just count the days until the election is over and Facebook stops suggesting political pages. I mean, that will stop after the election, won’t it?
It’s my mom’s birthday, so my parents called me. On my dad’s cellphone. From the Mediterranean. How cool is that? They’re on a month-long cruise (Mediterranean and Atlantic crossing), which I think is pretty damn cool. Happy birthday, Mom!! 🙂
Then I went on Facebook and discovered that there are people other than Mitt Romney who legitimately believe that withdrawing federal support for PBS and NPR is a good idea. I can’t even…
I need to just stay the hell off Facebook. Or find one of those filtering things that allows me to effectively shut certain people up. That would be awesome.
Okay, I’ve gotta stop being negative. I need all my positive vibes to send to the Orioles (let’s go O’s!).
Today’s been a pretty lazy day for me (not uncommon for a Saturday). And I have nothing to write about. Plus, I’m at my parents’ house, so my list o’ potential blog topics is not available. Not that I think I’d write about one of them if I had it with me. I’m pretty tired, so I think I’ll just wrap this up.
Oh, but I did just check my Facebook account on my laptop (as opposed to using the iPhone app, which is how I normally check Facebook) and I was reminded that some blog I don’t read sent me a friend request. I find that bizarre. Of all the blogs I do read, I’ve only connected with one on Facebook and even then I only liked the fan page, we’re not friends. (Man, I wanted to put quotes around half the words in that sentence.) I can’t help but wonder if I actually know someone at that blog. Weird.
Today’s “thing” may be called social networking, but it was really about Facebook. Even when this activity was created (in 2007), I believe most people had at least heard of Facebook. I certainly had, but I managed to remain a Facebook hold-out for another two years. In the end, I realized that 95% of my family and friends were on Facebook and it seemed like a convenient way to keep in touch, so I caved and joined.
I sometimes wonder if I would have joined Facebook earlier if I had still been in college when it launched (and required an email address from a .edu domain). I doubt that I would have. For one thing, I never joined MySpace. The other, much bigger, reason is that I am a very private person (also the major reason I never started a blog before). My instincts toward privacy also explain why I have a relatively small number of Facebook “friends.” My Facebook friends can be divided into three categories, family, actual friends, and people I went to school with, with a couple random others who don’t fit in any of those boxes. You will notice that there is no category called co-workers, this is because my rule is to not Facebook friend someone until one or both of us leaves the company. That rule may change someday, but it has served me well thus far.
This “thing” paid a lot of attention to Facebook apps. Even though I’ve used Facebook for two years, I almost never use apps. That’s mainly due to a disconnect between the information apps want access to and the information I think they should have access to. People have sent me hearts and drinks in the past, but I never reciprocate because I don’t believe the app they used needs to see my profile, my wall, and whatever else the app wants access to. For the purposes of this “thing” I decided to investigate the different apps available. As far as I can tell, most of them are ridiculous, but I did find Goodreads, a sort of personal library. I remembered that one of my old roommates was on Goodreads, so I checked it out. I felt the familiar unease when I read the list of things Goodreads wanted access to in Facebook, but I created a Goodreads account and linked it to my Facebook account. I like what I’ve seen of Goodreads thus far and will probably keep my account there, but I’ll probably delete the Goodreads Facebook app.