Wednesday, July 14, 2010

To Facebook With Love and Confusion

Dear Facebook,

I've always had your back. When my husband rolls his eyes and plays "too cool for Facebook," I defend you. When other Facebookers get prematurely up-in-arms about rumored impending charges for the services, I sit tight and think, "Not gonna happen, but I'd probably pay for Facebook if it did." Each time you change the layout around, I don't join a Facebook group to protest. I give things a few days and find that I can get used to whatever curveball you throw me. Just keep the status updates coming.
I appreciate you, Facebook. I like being able to connect with people from all stages of my life. Being on Facebook genuinely improves the quality of my daily life. Really. Thank you.
When I first joined, you gave me the opportunity to customize my profile with my favorite movies, music, television shows, quotations, etc. I admit that I passed on that option. Choosing which television shows and books defined me seemed like too much pressure, you know? I figured I'd get back to the profile later.
In the meantime, I made Facebook friends and joined groups related to my high school class, my son's preschool class, my college, and my grade school. I joined groups related to things I enjoy like Diet Coke, Papa Johns, and Tom Bergeron. At a certain point, it seems like "joining a group" changed into "becoming a fan." Fine, I "fanned" things. Truly, I don't know the difference between groups and fans or whatnot, but I've happily endorsed various people and projects on Facebook as things caught my fancy -- an author here, a singer there, a movie here, a friend's business venture there.
But here's the thing, Facebook. I did not ask you to take my group/fan thing-ies and fold them into categories on my profile. If I had wanted to list my favorite music for all to see, I would have made a list. Now, because I chose to be a fan of Susan Boyle the day that I saw that YouTube video, anyone who checks my profile for Likes and Interests, now sees the category of music with this single entry: Susan Boyle. I like her, I really do, but I can't say I would have chosen her as the lone artist to define my musical tastes.
And movies? I became a fan of Brothers At War, a documentary a college friend of mine made about his brothers' service in Iraq. It's a great film, and I recommend it, but again, thanks to your new merging, it now appears that this documentary is the only film I like or am interested in.
Because I have become a fan of several television shows, those who check my profile can see that I watch Glee. There's even a graphic box of the Sue Sylvester to drive the point home. That's all well and good, but say you had chosen to feature a graphic from one of the other shows I am fans of . . . How did you choose Glee to highlight?
I feel a little funny thinking about facebook friends I have not seen in years (or, in the case of my blogging friends, sometimes never seen in person at all) checking my profile and formulating their sense of who and how I am now based on the fact that my likes and interests appear to include a British reality television star, a war documentary, and four television shows.
Did I tell you to do that to my profile? If I did, I was confused. I want to take it back, but I don't know how.
As previously stated, if I had wanted to make a list of my likes and interests, I would have made a list!!!! Plus, I would have tried to make that list thorough and clever. It would have included books and more than one movie. It would not have included music at all because I don't know crap about music and don't really even know what music I like anymore beyond the Glee soundtracks because I am a dork who pretty much only listens to audiobooks.
You've embarrassed me, Facebook. Quit defining me -- okay? And, while you're at it, tell me how to fix everything. I am attempting to edit my profile to include Activities and Interests like Snacking, Memoirs, Taking Walks, Thinking About Recipes, and Listening to Audiobooks. Once I save the changes, they disappear and don't show up on my profile anywhere. I know because I called my sister to tell me what she saw on my profile. She couldn't stop laughing at the measly Susan Boyle entry under music and did not see any of the stuff I thought I added.
I'd like to give Susan some company, but my additions aren't sticking. And, not to hurt anyone's feelings, but if I wanted to un-join or un-fan some entities, how would I do that?
I've got a reputation (for what, I don't know) to protect and an identity to craft. If my Facebook friends want to judge me on my likes and interests, at least leave it to me to craft the complete list.
Please, help me out.



P.S. -- I am posting this letter on my blog in case any of my readers or facebook friends can help me out.


LAP said...

Wish I could help MEP. I will let you know however when Susan Boyle drops her next album so you can snatch it up right away. haha Seriously, FB should be ashamed for filling your blank interests at their discretion. I know you would have been far wittier with your responses.

Heather said...

I am now paranoid and running over to FB to see what groups I have joined and what is currently defining my profile. Sorry, I have no idea how to help you out.

Steph said...

Arrrgh! So true - thank you for this letter and I've gotta check my profile, too.

Sara said...

Hilarious, Megan. You have solidified my hesitancy to be a joiner on facebook.

Your post reminded me of my outrage at my old TiVo when it kept taping things it thought I would like. Just because I liked "Survivor" did NOT mean I liked "Big Brother." Come on!

Miss you!

E... said...

I too, am a defender of FB, and I'm glad to see this hasn't soured you completely. I did actually have some lists of interests at one time, but got rid of them when FB wanted me to make them all be actual things I "liked" rather than just a list on my own page. Also wasn't clear whether it was available for the world to see or just friends. No judgments from here, of course, but I totally get your point.

cake said...

you are good at transforming frustration into humor. i bet that serves you well as the mother of three young children, too.

Actchy said...

Oh, man. I'm rolling around on the floor. For what it's worth, I have chucked the perception of you I had formed over our 15 year friendship and have replaced it with one gleaned from those items in your Facebook profile.

PITA said...

Sounds like they have you pegged. I dreamed a dream of times gone by....GO SUSAN!

dusty earth mother said...

CaraBee said...

I think it is hilariously awesome that your only musical interest is
Susan Boyle. If it's any consolation, my only one is a country music singer I went to high school with. I don't know when they made those changes, but I guess it means I need to keep a closer eye on things and make some changes myself.

The Empress said...

Yikes ! you're kidding! They can do that?????

Miss Welcome said...

I like facebook too, but have studiously avoided joining any group or fan club. So I cannot be defined!!! ha ha

But I see what you mean. grr

Wesson Family said...

MEP! If you didn't know I read your blog, you do now! You are the most clever and interesting writer. I love hearing what you have to say.

I was motivated to check my FB profile (thx for the head's up!) and my only music interest listed is the Foo Fighters! I guess they are my Susan Boyle. Buddy the Elf (though I absolutely cannot even consider removing him) appears as my only movie choice. "Buddy the Elf" is not a movie, though yes, he is a character. Seriously.

So I'm not udging you if you don't judge me. I clicked on the link to the Foo Fighter page and on the bottom left-hand corner there is an "unlike" option. Even though I love the music, I clicked and they are now gone! I need to clean up my profile sometime. Hope this helps. Hope you are doing well.

Wesson Family said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wesson Family said...

Ok, so if we still want to "like" and get updates it appears maybe we can hide certain selections... if you click to edit your likes and interests... you can click, drag and drop slightly to the south to "hide". Then save changes. But I don't think that is working either. My guess is these are the steps you took. No enlightenment here. Sorry! :)

Stacia said...

The new system drives me nuts, too. But, hey, Susan Boyle is cool. And Facebook is my window to the outside world when I'm trapped inside with tantrumy children, so the FB peeps can pretty much do anything and I'll stick with them. =>

msh said...

hilarious. though i have no time to further comment because i must go check my profile. i remain anti-change in all facets of my life.

ruthi said...

It's a good thing that I am not alone. And though I find myself fixated on FB instead of doing more productive tasks... i really feel guilty afterwards. But what can I do? Well, maybe I should go to FB now and check my profile.

Thanks for enlightening me.

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