Recently I’ve been unsubscribing with remarkable pace from many so-called friends I am connected with on your social networking website. After debating for months over whether or not I wanted to hear about these acquaintances’ marriages, babies, or fun nights staying in with a blanket and cup of cocoa, I have decided against the mundane and released myself from hundreds of people and their accompanying facebook drivel.
I expected my newsfeed to become a haven, a place where I could go and see what was happening in the lives of people who are close to me and the interesting or laughable lives of others I am not close to. Alas, this has not happened. One reason is that as I unsubscribe from my facefriends, friends that lurk deep within my friend well have come to the surface, gracing me with one status update or a tagged photo before I try to recall who they are and then unsubscribe from them. This is obviously my fault. You didn’t force me to accept their friend requests or friend people after knowing them for one evening, after which we never saw each other again except for on the sidewalk where we both maintained awkward silence and averted our eyes.
However, another chief reason for my dissatisfaction with the “cleaned up” newsfeed is the garbage facebook continually highlights. I speak, of course, of the continual promotion of prof pic changes, the ubiquitous “so and so and 10 other friends changed their profile picture.” To be frank, I don’t care who changed their profile picture after spending hours and possibly weeks mulling over which snapshot succinctly captured their humor, beauty, or relationship status.
Actually, I can’t think of anything more uninteresting. It might as well read “so and so and all of your other friends used their computers today.” Honestly, what’s the purpose in knowing who changed their profile picture? Not only does it not reflect in the least bit any change for better or worse in their own lives—it’s quite possible to dig out a prof picture from happier months—it is anti-news. It provides no new information while making one feel vaguely anxious and insufficient: “Should I be changing my profile picture so I can appear to be moving forward in my life?” It is iceberg lettuce, the filler in Taco Bell meat, and worse than Yahoo! news.
Facebook, I know that you provide a free service. I know that I have trapped myself into a cycle where living without this service would be undesireable, if not impossible. Furthermore, I realize that I am powerless against you and that you will have your way with the facebook-using pawns and wreak whatever kind of layout changes and privacy destruction you wish. That’s why I’m not asking you to stop highlighting profile picture changes on my newsfeed. This letter is actually an urgent request that you do not harm me or my family once you take over the world. This profile picture thing is my only complaint and despite it I will always be loyal to you.
Your eternal and groveling servant,