Maybe you’ve heard the flapdoodle about Facebook “improving” itself last week?
Facebook changed its layout or interface or whatever they call it. If you’re a regular facebooker (and hello my name is mannahattamamma; I’m a facebook addict), then you know about this “new and improved” (read: clunky and fucked up) structure: a sidebar that scrolls along listing updates from everyone in the world and your Wall being organized by the gurus at FB into “top story,” “recent story” and “older posts.”
Messages flew across the facebook universe the first days of these “improvements” about how to try and beat the new structure—unclick this, click on that, select the button over there—but Facebook resists tampering.
As a result, my Facebook Wall, which used to update posts in a reassuringly chronological list, now pays no attention to the clock or any other visible organizing principle. I get posts from friends on the West Coast twelve hours behind me appearing ahead of posts from people here in Abu Dhabi; posts from days ago suddenly being listed as “top stories” while a post from my sister about new shoes (the stuff that really matters, dammit) gets shuffled four screens away.
If you try to un-top a “top story” you get a message from your pals at Facebook apologizing and saying that they’ll “try” not list stories like that at the top any more. What’s with the “try” business? Haven’t they been listening to Yoda? Try not, Silicon Slicksters, do only. The whole Facebook thing is algorithms, right? How can an algorithm “try?”
Unless—cue paranoid music here—there really are FB minions watching over our posts. In that case, it seems only a matter of time before FB starts to editorialize.
I can just imagine it: “Here’s another crappy post from your grumpy uncle; here are the disgruntled political posts; these are the posts from your over-sexed colleague at work; we’ve left off all the posts about food until you lose five pounds, fat-ass; we know you don’t like the kute kitten videos but we think you need cheering up, so here they are; here are some of the cartoons and random snapshots that your friends post but only a few because some of those photos were just stupid.”
And then we’ll start getting little pop-up windows asking us “do you really want to say that?” or “Probably you should leave that guy alone now,” or “don’t you think seven posts in a row about your new diet is plenty?” or “remember nothing on the internet ever dies and no one really wants to see you naked” (if only Anthony Wiener’s weenie had gotten that message).
It’s coming. I’m telling you. Facebook: your new electronic mother.