I am sick of Lookbacks. I am sick of Bitstrips, Zimbio, and every other shallow, overshared site that’s giving you a taste of identity so that you don’t have to make your own. But most of all, I’m sick of mindless sharing. I didn’t sign up for Sheepbook. I want Facebook back.
I have had Facebook since 2006, just like millions upon millions of other people. Over the years, I have griped about its often irksome, backwards, and anti-user (pro-ad-revenue) changes. But I have also encouraged anyone I knew who didn’t have Facebook to make themselves an account.
Because if you’re not on Facebook, you’re missing out.
You’re missing out on conversations with friends, on events from friends and companies you know and many you don’t, on news articles published five minutes ago, on comics and memes, on the zeitgeist of your acquaintance group. You miss things like your friend’s birthday party, your cousin’s engagement, the new son of an old classmate. You miss out.
All of those valuable posts and conversations are still happening. But unfortunately, you now have to ALSO wade through an ever-increasing deluge of memes, Bitstrips, clickbait articles, re-shares from popular pages, quiz results, and this week, hundreds (or at least dozens; in any case, WAY TOO MANY) of Facebook Lookback videos, ‘celebrating’ Facebook’s 10th birthday.
What’s the problem?
Good content becomes more and more diluted every day. I can block Bitstrips, or individual websites like Upworthy or Zimbio (the home of all those accursed quizzes). But I don’t want to unfriend a real-life friend just because they shared their Lookback. The problem is, I can’t hide the Lookbacks. Just like I can’t hide, say, TIME if I still want some results from TIME to appear in my feed, but just not the annoying ones.
Facebook used to be a place for people to share their personal news, big and small (sometimes VERY small). And it still is, or at least some small part of it still is. But the ratio of good content vs banal is tipping over to the verge of uselessness. And all because people are sharing essentially useless posts. Facebook has set things up this way. And it will lead to their downfall. For now, I will continue to trawl through my News Feed (set to Most Recent), desperately searching for scraps of meaningful content. Wishing, nay dreaming, that the users of this social media platform would quit dragging themselves—ourselves—down, making me resent my online experience, longing for the days when Facebook didn’t feel like a chain letter, or friend-created spam, or an exercise in speed-reading.
Turns out curating takes skill. I think I knew this all along. But when you expect hundreds of diverse people to all curate their online experience well… I guess that’s expecting too much. I never like lowering my expectations.