At the Movies: Facebook Edition

While everyone else has been running out to catch “The LEGO Movie” and screaming about how great it is, I have spent the week enjoying 60-second documentaries on the lives of my friends and family since they joined Facebook.

In honor of the social media giant’s 1oth anniversary, Mark Zuckerberg has had his minions toiling away on one-minute videos recapping the lives of its many users since they joined the site.

facebook-celebrates-10-years-with-a-look-back-01The videos, set to a lovely musical accompaniment, start out by telling you what year you signed on, then presents a trio of your early posts (usually photos). It then goes into the “Your most liked posts” segment, which is pretty interesting as it’s based on what you put up that other people have liked enough to hit the “like” button.

Some people are very generous in their use of the “like” button, I tend to be pretty stingy. It’s not that I don’t like things, I just don’t feel the need to announce it. Most liked photos tend to have babies in them, or comments that don’t make much sense taken out of context. Some could be mildly embarrassing to look back on, like “Thank God my kidney stone passed!”

The final segment, “Photos you’ve shared” is where the Alan Smithees  at FB headquarters go through all your photos and comments and toss what they consider noteworthy photos or comments on screen to fill out the remaining 30 seconds.  And here’s where, after I thought about it, it became kinda creepy. Do I want some nameless, faceless Facebook employee sifting through all the crap I’ve tossed out there and turning it into a greatest hits package without my say-so?

I expressed my feelings the only way I know how in this modern world — via Facebook. Ten people agreed with my position (I assume that’s what it means when you “like” something) but two of my smart-ass friends felt compelled to point out that “It’s their site, you’re putting it on there voluntarily. They can do what they want with it.”

Don’t you love your smart-ass friends? I know how the Internet works. I didn’t say what they were doing was illegal, just creepy. And yes, I really shouldn’t expect better of Mark Zuckerberg — I did see “The Social Network,” after all. It’s just that, to paraphrase the great chaos theorist and mathematician Ian Malcolm, “Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should.”

And yet, I find all these mini-documentaries fascinating. And yes, I wish more of my friends and family would post theirs. And no, I’m not posting mine. (By the by, whoever was the director of my movie did a really good job. I actually think it’s the best one I’ve seen.)

And yes, I realize all this makes me a hypocrite.

But these videos are so much more interesting than 95 percent of what gets posted on Facebook. No, I really don’t want to read some left-wing/right-wing article you think proves your twisted point of view; I really don’t want to see another picture of your child this week; I really don’t care that you took a quiz that tells you what Harry Potter character you are; I’m not interested in whatever inspirational saying you found on another website; I don’t want to join you in Farmville;  and I really don’t want to read your movie review.

But these videos — they give me some small insight into you and your life, and that’s what I got on Facebook for in the first place.


One response to “At the Movies: Facebook Edition

  1. I’m pretty sure the movies are built by a computer program (not a person), as the finished product appears within seconds of clicking the button. I don’t mind if a computer looks at my pictures, and then it lets you decide whether or not to post it. The great thing about Facebook is that a person can use it for whatever he or she wants to, whether or be political rants or pictures of lunch (I care for each of those about the same amount actually). Mostly, I like seeing what is going on in my friends’ lives, and that is what tends to appear in the mini movies. Thank God for that. Mini movies filled with lunch pictures would be terrible.

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