If any of you have a Facebook account (and that’s probably most of you), you’ve probably received a holiday “card” of sorts – a post that shows up in your feed that replays the prior year’s top events in photos. The pictures, algorithmically customized for each user, are displayed under the tagline; “It’s Been A Great Year…Thanks for Being A Part Of It.” I have news for you, Facebook, for some of us, it hasn’t been a great year… and we hardly want to review it.
This year has been particularly tough for me and I’m not sorry to close the door on 2014. Family issues, relationship conflicts, and the loss of loved ones have made this a less than stellar year and watching a slideshow of photos that bring back those memories in vivid detail is painful.
Admittedly, I peruse Facebook when I have some down time from thinking about real life. It’s great to see the smiling faces of friends and their kids, chuckle at cartoons, or watch the latest animal-acting-cute video, but when Facebook attempts to chronicle my life with a computer-generated selection of photos it crosses the line and becomes personal. It hurts to see a picture of your family in happier times or a photo of a recently deceased relative surrounded by a halo of confetti and ribbon.
I realize that the algorithm selects photos based on popularity and the number of comments on a post – computers don’t have empathy, they just do what they’re programmed to do – but perhaps the programmers can consider adding keywords like SORRY or LOSS and direct the algorithm to avoid posts that contain those words multiple times – or maybe they can create an “opt in” option that allows users to create a custom slideshow of their year…or not, but is more respectful of feelings.
I am hoping that 2015 is a better year filled with love and light and joy and strength – and even if it is, I don’t want Facebook to curate the photo album…I can do that myself.