How to fix Facebook

I really like Facebook.  I like the fact that I can still feel connected with people I like, even when I’m far away from them and don’t see them for ages.  That’s what it’s for, and That Is Good.

Only now … now things seem to have changed.  We’ve all got a bit more confident about writing publicly because we’re bleating to a friendly audience.  I can write the most inane sheeply drivel and nobody will tell me I’m talking ball-juice, because they’re all my friends.  I come away feeling like Hemingway.

I assume Hemingway was good.  People seem to speak highly of him.  My literary qualifications are largely imagined.  But they still count on Facebook.  We all feel like little Hemingways on Facebook.

And that’s the problem.  We’re all content creators now and, I’m sorry to break it to you, we’re all SHIT at it.

On the whole, that doesn’t matter.  I’m on Facebook to connect with people I like.  If I want engaging content, I’ll surf … erm … hang on … give me a minute …

Wait, is there *any* engaging content on the internet?  Hmm … that might be an insight into my surfing history that I didn’t intend to share… forget I said that … 8O

Aaaaanyway … Facebook posts don’t need to conform to any standards, protocols or even guidelines, and that’s the whole point of social media.  Everybody *should* be able to post whatever the hell they like.  And I want to be able to *see* whatever the hell I like.

If you’re anything like me, your Facebook experience centres around the Page Down key, skipping acres of content that means something to somebody else, but not you.  Facebook is broken.

That. Is. Bad.  For everybody.  For the poster.  For the reader.  For Facebook.  For the advertisers that pay Facebook for their ad that zips past without you registering anything but the word “Sponsored” that made you skip it in the first place.

Here’s how to fix it.

We need to be able to filter what we see.  There’s too much noise.  There’s only so many times you can swipe the page up twenty times in succession without seeing anything of interest before you’ll throw the little bingly thing down in frustration and go for a walk instead.  Perish the thought!  This is how to make Facebook better.

We need TAGS.  We need CONTENT TAGS.  If something’s about cooking, it needs a Cooking tag.  If something’s about the EU referendum, it needs a Politics tag.  If something’s about Piers Morgan, it needs a tag on its toe having been dragged from the depths beneath Tower Bridge and be identifiable only from dental records.

But I digress.

I will say again that everybody should be able to post whatever the hell they like.  That’s what this malarkey is all about.  I don’t want to change what people post.  I just want to control which bits *I* see.

To take one personal example, I really couldn’t give a flying fuck about football.  Whether that means soccer to you, or American football, or punting your pug over your neighbour’s fence, I honestly can’t think of anything that matters to me less than that.  So when I see a post saying, “Holy crap!  I can’t believe Ranieri didn’t get arrested for that!” and I Google it and find out Ranieri is a FUCKING FOOTBALLER and I’ve just wasted thirty seconds of my life that I could have spent perving over a Caterham 620S, it makes me want to unfriend you.  But I don’t *want* to unfriend you, because you *are* my friend, and if you post about your new fluffy-wuffy widdle cat then I do want to see that.  No, really!  I’m not being sarcastic, I really *do* want to see that!  I want to see the nice stuff!  I want to share your fluffy moments!

You see?  Some of you are reading that and thinking, “FUCK OFF!  If I see another pissing cat photo I’m going to barf so hard I’ll implode!”

You see?  *That’s* why we need tags!  MY Facebook is not the same as YOUR Facebook.  But right now, today, it *is*!  We’re all exposed to the same stuff, and we have to scroll through the stuff we’re not interested in.  Tags will fix that.

So here’s how it will work.  Tags will absolutely fail if it relies on the *poster* to do the tagging.  Posting needs to be quick, and if we have to tag stuff, we just won’t do it.  Plus we’ll lie about our posts.  We’re shit like that.  That’s a non-starter.

This is the key: It’s OTHER PEOPLE who tag your posts.  But the crucial part is that NOBODY KNOWS who’s tagged what, and nobody can find out.

When my good mate Charlie posts about Fernando Ronaldo’s rumoured move to Spuntak Moscow, and I swear at him for wasting my valuable wanking time, in my disgust I tag the post as “football” so that none of my other sexually repressed football-hating friends will have the same experience.  Nobody knows that’s happened – it just doesn’t show up in their feed, because they’ve specified “No football” in their timeline preferences.  If they view Charlie’s page, they’ll still see it, but otherwise they’ll be blissfully unaware.  The Facebook community has become a tiny bit better.

When I post bollocks like I’m writing right now, my Facebook friends can tag it with Politics, or Commentary, or Preachy Fucker, or whatever tags Facebook deems fit to define.  They do need to be pre-defined, because we need to be able to tell Facebook which ones to leave out of our timeline, but we will be able to request new tags, and every month Facebook will give us the highest voted new tag to use thenceforth.  So after month 1, none of us need to hear about those fucking Kardashians EVER AGAIN!  How great is that?!

When I tailor my timeline, I can specify tags as:

  • Never show me this
  • Not interested
  • Interested
  • Always show me this

and that will determine the precedence of the post.  The precedence is altered by the order of the rules, so for example if I’ve defined my number 1 rule as “never show me football” but my number 2 rule is “always show me twats getting their comeuppance” … I might miss out on quite a lot … but that’s MY CHOICE!  The moment I swap the rules around, my timeline changes instantly.  We know this ability already exists in Facebook, because if I add a friend, his or her past posts immediately appear on my timeline as if we were friends all along.  The timeline is a dynamic window.  This will work.

So, just to get the juices flowing, here are a few examples of tags that we might find useful.  Some of them you will want to see more of, some you will want to see less of.  Nobody will have the same set, but that’s the whole point.  You set your own preferences.

Some tags to start with

  • Football
  • Cars
  • Children
  • Politics
  • Sport
  • Exercise
  • Drinking
  • Cooking
  • Charity
  • UK
  • USA
  • Europe
  • Music
  • Kardashians
  • Reality TV
  • Pets
  • Death
  • Cute
  • Violence
  • Daily Mail
  • Religion
  • Request to share
  • Hoax
  • Feelgood
  • Animal cruelty
  • Donald Fucking Trump

That’s just a few off the top of my head.  JUST IMAGINE if you could tailor your Facebook feed with just those few tags, so that you saw more of the content you WANTED to see and less of the content that makes you feel like shit?

Wouldn’t Facebook be SO MUCH BETTER?

I think it would.


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