Facebook is trash. It’s evolved from being a wasteland of mundane updates to a wasteland of bad memes. At this rate, as I scroll past loads of digital trash that’s racked up millions of trash views, I’d rather see the shiny curated-lives feed people once spoke of. “Facebook”, people once said, “is not real. Because everybody is so fakely happy on there, and their lives are so fakely joyous.” But now all I see are memes. I’d rather see perfect lives instead.
Ironically, Facebook used to be a place where people wrote about the most personal, real-life, trivial things. “I made a sandwich,” one status might read. “Here are my toenails; I’ve clipped them for the first time in ages.” Above the caption, an off-focus photo of said toenails. Then an uncomfortably personal rant about a fight someone just had with their significant other: “I’ve had it with you, Derek! It’s! Over!” And then: “Derek and I have made things up. He says he will no longer trim his toenails at the dinner table.” Update after update: it was life at its finest, its dullest, its weirdest, its realest.
Five years later, Facebook would evolve to become a platform of privacy-munching absolute-fakery, where people were perfect to an unholy degree and Facebook gobbled all our data. People were perpetually smiling, at the beach, soaking up the rays of a beauteous life. While we masked our sadness with deliriously bright posts, Facebook kept tabs on us. On the sites we visited, even when we were logged off, on the ads we’d clicked, feeding our info to its delicious creep-algorithm. This, in turn, fed us loads of intrusive ads. Still does. Ever looked up furry boots on Amazon only to find an ad for furry boots on your Facebook feed two seconds later? There you have it: glorious ubiquitous digital tracking.
But Facebook, for all this feather-fluffing you spew about your great algorithms and snoopy tracking, could you not offer a slightly better feed? One that isn’t littered with unrelated posts? All I see, as I scroll down, are trashy memes, videos, images, captions, and statuses from people I haven’t spoken to in years. I know why–it’s because the feed caters to popular posts. And popular posts are usually ones that elicit gut-reactions, like laughter, or shock, or sheer anger. It’s primal. The wilder, the weirder, the more controversial, the better. Doesn’t matter whether it’s quality or not. And, well, I’m not even going to get into this one, but that fueled fake news like no other.
As if the platform wasn’t already objectively shitty, everything has to revolve around it. A Spotify playlist, Pinterest boards, group chats, business pages, Instagram–all of it’s roped into the monster platform. It’s abhorrent, the system, synonymous with loathsome, repugnant; in other words, gross, dude. It’s also, weirdly enough, a social thing. Do you know how much shit I’ve gotten over the years for trying to get off the site? You don’t, so I’ll tell you: a lot of shit. And it ranged from the benign, “where’d you go? I want to tag you in a picture!” to the snarkier “oh, I know you’re off, you’re always off, aren’t you? You’re so weird.” In a way, not being on Facebook became–and this is going to sound dramatic, but I swear, sometimes it was the first thing people said to me in ages–part of my identity. And I’m not sure why, but it really upset some people that they couldn’t just look me up to see what I was doing.
The best part of all this is that, despite loathing the site, I’ll probably find myself back on it sooner or later. It houses my photography platform. It’s where I can most easily reach my friends. It’s where you’re supposed to be–employers will think you’re a psychopath for not having a Facebook. Also, it’s stalker central! And if you don’t live under a rock, then stalking has to be a part of your everyday routine. Again, it’s all utterly absurd to me, how normalized privacy-invasion is, how horrendously trashy our feeds are, how it’s a social must. See, I don’t mind social media–I like Instagram, maybe more than I should, and I’m on Snapchat several times a day. I very specifically detest Facebook, though I seldom talk about it lest people get defensive over it. Also, I know many a person who either works at, or has worked for, Facebook. So here I am, writing about it on the Internet instead.
Hopefully, I can stay off for just a wee bit longer. Realistically, though, I’ll likely be on in a matter of weeks (or, if I’m lucky, months). In the meantime, I will dislike it intensely.