February 17, 2018

Feeling [not] very happy on FB

You are probably aware of the 2014 'experiment' by Facebook. There has been assessment and re-assessment of that fb issue. Well Jess says they got it wrong. We don't want to see the people we don't like (but appear on our feed) happy. But I'm here to say Jess might have it wrong! This is not backed up by big data but by my small data.

The past few weeks I've been bombarded (emotionally) with different types of images from one place. On the public feed there are happy smiling faces, at the beach, going to town, on holiday, visiting overseas. On the other [Messenger feed] I've been haunted by tragic images of my mother-in-law dying. Four bare walls and mats on the floor.  At first I just wanted to hit Facebook over the back of the head, like a naughty child. But then this software facilitated our first video contact with this situation and it saved our sanity for that week. How could you complain? Messenger just seemed to work when our land lines/under sea cables and wireless/mobile/xG connections with various people, did not. (Assuming the credit lasted.) But now I'm waking up at night and thinking of these two disparate sets of photos. I'm thinking that the happy smiling faces deserve to lead their life, while others are dying. I'm thinking the tragic pictures are pared down and stark and probably over emphasise the tragedy (or not). I can't see who is just out of lens range or the singing that might be heard or the food smells from the kitchen. Then there are the pictures not taken, the unseen (from my eyes) events that we recreate by reading between the lines of the dm messages. All I'm left with is stale, hard bread crumbs of time past. I'll cry by myself, when she passes. I'll be grieving from afar. Having family in another place is very difficult at these times.

The other contrast is between different social media platforms. Recently when my friend was diagnosed with ....oh will I say it? ..... you know....the 'C' word. Yeah, breast cancer. I hinted (without saying too much) on Twitter and got a few, lovely 'sorry to hear that' replies. However on Mastodon, I was able to express myself much more (and add a hide/expand option for people not wanting to be bombarded with that info). I got candles (virtually flickering), sharing of same experiences, sharing of strategies and other words that felt like a comforting hug. Does this make it a 'better' platform with better design? (maybe) Does this mean that I should stop sharing such stuff on Twitter? (well, no) Does this mean that I feel better after writing about this in this space? (absolutely) Is this the best place for such public/private writing? (who knows)