You might have noticed at the top of your Facebook feed the social networking site is trying to encourage you to talk about specific subjects. Hey, your favorite team won! Tell everybody how you’re celebrating!
Well, I no longer live in Los Angeles and I’m sitting by myself in a one-bedroom apartment in Central Florida. I zipped up my fly, forgot to brush my teeth and went to bed. Go Dodgers.
I don’t recall why my pants were unzipped in the first place.
I can only guess how these make-me-comply suggestions helps Facebook. Perhaps it helps target ads. I’m no expert in analytics.
But you can only go so far with it before it becomes a little weird. Today is International Yoga Day. Facebook is asking me what’s my favorite yoga pose, like it’s been staring at my ass from the other side of the gym and wanted to say hi. Am I right, ladies? Am I right?
(Truth be told here: My favorite yoga pose doesn’t make my ass look good. It makes the ladies’ look amazing. Sorry/not sorry. I heard a lot of lousy “downward dog” jokes from hacky comedians in LA. Downward dog isn’t even close to the sexiest pose in the yoga girl arsenal.)
It started to hit me that Facebook — which changed the game in social networking because it wasn’t as creepy as MySpace — is changing itself again into a maternalistic pain in the ass. You’re not thinking of anything in particular, trying to decompress after dealing with mobs of confused or angry strangers you met in the course of your work shift, and your cell phone goes off. Oh yeah, Facebook, can I call you later? I don’t really have anything going on and I don’t really know what to make of International Respect-People-With-Chronic-Head-Lice Day.
Maybe Facebook is trying to influence our conversations because it’s gotten far too cheap and sleazy in the course of the presidential campaign. Yes, people, I know the GOP candidate has miserable hair and his wife took dirty pictures. Why are you trying to discourage pretty women from taking dirty pictures?
But the moment that really inspired me to retreat from Facebook came the day of the infamous Orlando terror attacks. I had just heard about it and during the course of finding of blood bank to donate because contributions were needed, Mom called and asked if I was OK because she didn’t know.
That’s what makes Mom Mom. She didn’t know the details of the attacks and wanted to make sure. Unconditional love. Even if it meant I might be gay.
Then while going to the blood bank, Facebook kept sending me text messages to tell everyone I was safe. The site knows where you are and wants you to post. That’s not unconditional love. That’s … Truthfully, I don’t necessarily know what that is.
But drawing attention to yourself when other people are in trouble just isn’t a particularly loving response.
And besides, those two moments confirmed to me what we all privately suspect: no amount of processing speed in a computer hard drive will be faster than your mom when it comes to expressing love. Mom won that race, social networks.
You can’t make automated “I’m safe” responses take the place of friends and family calling you. If it ever does come to that point, God help us all.