Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Where Are All The Cat Videos?

A friend lamented to me last week that her Facebook news feed has gotten heavy and depressing. Much like mine, hers is full of political rants that lead to angry, lengthy discussions, sad stories of varying degrees and causes, and sales pitches and solicitations. What happened to the good old days of scrolling through fun pictures, witty status updates, and cat videos? I miss all of that, and I don't even like cat videos. Well, except for Keyboard Cat. Everyone likes Keyboard Cat.

See? Don't you feel better? I long for the days when Facebook was all about mindless entertainment. I'm even (almost) starting to miss the endless bragging and exaggeration about how wonderful and perfect everyone's lives are--can we get back to those kinder, simpler times? 

In an effort to retake Facebook and maybe see some funny e-card posts again once in a while, I want to make an appeal to you, the Facebook masses: please stop.

Please stop with your political rants, rages, endorsements, and persuasions. No Facebook argument in the history of social media has ever actually changed anyone's mind about anything. Ever. Support your candidate of choice with your vote, your money, and your volunteer time, if you choose, but please don't make the rest of us keep reading your very impassioned status updates. 

Please stop posting sad, terrible news stories that you just happenstance across on the Internet. Or at least make sure they are a) true stories and b) timely. I don't need to waste time of my life reading about a young girl with a fictitious disease who is collecting money for a hot air balloon ride around the world...dated October of 2007. 

Please stop trying to hard to sell whatever it is you're selling. If every post contains a picture of you wearing your product's logo t-shirt, drinking from your product's logo tumbler, bragging about the earth shattering, unprecedented, "amazing" things your product does, the collective Facebook universe is begging you to stop. Or at least make a concerted effort to contribute other things besides "a great business opportunity" to change our lives and our wallets and our health and our appearance and our self esteem and our family dynamic. It's exhausting and kind of insulting.

I realize that we all have our different interests and the freedom to discuss anything our little hearts desire, but I really think we would all be a better, happier society if we could just agree to get back to the Facebook basics. If there is an absolute need to post about the state of politics, the puppy mill that was raided in Connecticut four years ago, and this protein shake that will give you a feeling of euphoria while simultaneously melting all the fat right off your body, maybe we can designate a day just for those important announcements? A local radio station here has "Tirade Tuesday"--a whole day just for listeners to call in and vent about anything that might be on their minds. It seems to work well, so maybe that's what we need for Facebook...and the rest of us will know to just avoid the site on that particular day at all costs, or enjoy all the work-from-home opportunities, product testimonials, and Trump and Hillary bashing that will ensue.

Some of you may suggest that there is a "block" option available that can make these undesirable posts go away, but let me assure you that this problem has become so rampant, if one were to block all the offenders, there wouldn't be very much (if anything left). As such, I think it's best to address the root of the problem rather than just pruning back the leaves. Call me a pragmatist.

What I'm saying is that the situation has become so desperate, I find myself wishing for pictures of that meal you're eating, status updates that tell me what the weather is like ("It's hot out there today!"), or something not-really-cute-or-funny-to-anyone-but-you that your kid has said or done. I'm challenging you; the next time you post something, please dutifully consider using one of these categories:

The humorous e-card:

The funny animal video:

The amusing status update:

*Sorry, I searched and searched and couldn't find an example. 
That alone should illustrate the problem at hand.*

I hope this discussion has helped provide some ideas and inspiration--and if not, at least it gives you two videos to keep you entertained for a brief stint. That's more than Facebook has had to offer in quite some time. I'll see you in my news feed--hopefully, with a picture of that dinner you made or a very creative and informative "Happy Wednesday!" Make me proud.

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