I have a Facebook pet peeve that is not going to make me popular with a lot of people. In fact I may lose a few virtual friends over what I am about to say but I have to say it anyway. It’s not the rampant political vitriol that is making me crazy. It’s not the abundance of dog and cat videos (I actually like those). It’s not those ubiquitous Minions with their sage advice. It’s not the people who post pictures of their kids every single day (but while I’m venting, maybe you could cut back on those a bit?). I can deal with all those things. The thing I hate most about Facebook are the reruns. There, I’ve finally said it. You know the ones I’m talking about; the posts that say something like Mike Smith shared a memory from January 2013 and you see a picture of Mike climbing a mountain. To be honest, most of these memories weren’t that interesting the first time around. So why do we need to see them again? Is Facebook doing this because it really needs more fodder for its news feed?
A problem with these reruns is that unless you look closely, it can appear that the poster is sharing a new status, which can be confusing and even awkward. One of my Facebook friends recently shared a memory and picture of her dear mom, whom she lost two years ago. I actually remembered the original post, but apparently many people didn’t and they started sending her condolence messages. She had to post another message clarifying that her mom had actually passed away two years prior. I think we all can agree that a situation like that can be a little uncomfortable.
I admit that I too have been guilty of posting reruns. It’s just so tempting. Facebook tells you that it cares about you and wants to share your memories. Who doesn’t want to hear that they are cared about? Sometimes it’s the nicest thing I’ve heard all day. After Facebook states how much it cares about you, it shows you a picture and memory from a year ago, or even a few years ago, when your kids were a little cuter and you were a little thinner and younger. It’s almost impossible to resist pushing that share button. I recently shared an old memory of the Snuggie I received one Chanukah from my husband because I remembered being so excited with that Snuggie. I have no idea what compelled me to share that picture—in my rational mind I knew that no one cared about a polyester blanket with sleeves that I received years ago. It’s just that sometimes Facebook can wield so much power that it seems almost impossible not to give in, even when we know we are being manipulated.
I have an image of some young Facebook tech guy in a hoodie coming up with these ideas, like the photomontage that was popular last year, or the algorithm which allowed everyone to change their profile picture to reflect the French flag. I think that Facebook is trying to suck us in a little more with each one of these blatant tugs at our heartstrings. But we must try to resist Facebook. And if we can’t completely resist, maybe we can at least temper our inclination to post these old memories. Perhaps a good compromise would be to only share reruns with the individuals to whom the post might be most important, like the people who are actually in the photo. And maybe an exception can be made for people we have loved and are now gone. You can also share everything with parents and grandparents, who are generally interested in everything you do.
I feel better having gotten this off my chest. By the way, yesterday Facebook showed me an adorable picture of my dog from last year… Never mind.