During last week’s announcement of Facebook Home, did anyone else find themselves thinking: Why the hell do we need this thing?
I’ll hand it to everyone over at Facebook PR, the promo video almost got me! It has a handful of exceptionally good-looking people who are smiling, laughing, cooking, weirdly touching hands … eventually looking at their phones … oh wait, what? What in the hell is this? I was under the impression I was watching the new Lumineers music video.
Oh wait, that’s right: It’s Facebook Home, which is like a Facebook for your Facebook where you can Facebook on Facebook – plus … extra Facebook.
I swear to God, my brain is about to melt out of my ears.
“More Facebook, please! You know, if there’s anything I need, it’s more Facebook and a more immediate way to access it!” said no one ever. Facebook took over the Internet a long time ago. You can’t go anywhere without seeing a Connect button, a Share button, a Like button, a login button. Nearly every site you go to already ties into Facebook. You can’t escape it. Don’t you dare try!
The whole idea behind Facebook Home is that you can be using Facebook all the time, without even feeling like you’re using Facebook! Oh wait, that’s already happening. Somehow, I turn on my computer and then I’m staring mindlessly scrolling through my News Feed. I don’t even know what happens between hitting power and scrolling! There I am, waiting for the train … wait, wha? When did my phone get in my hand and my Facebook app opened? Am I commenting right now? What am I even doing? How many friend requests did I just approve? Where am I!? Who am I!?!??!
It’s like taking Ambien and eating the entire contents of your refrigerator without even knowing it; no really, I’m going to make this analogy work. We’re unwittingly consuming without any awareness. It’s not good for us and it’s not helping us and we don’t even know we’re doing it. Facebook has become the empty calories of our lives. And, you don’t even get to have any fun hallucinations from taking it and trying to stay awake. (Yes, that’s a thing. Seriously I haven’t tried it, but it’s real).
It’s not like Facebook hasn’t already made a variety of social situations horrifying. Seriously, every time someone starts a sentence with “Well I saw on Facebook,” a little part of me dies. I know how hypocritical this is, and I don’t even care. For some reason, discussing the goings-on of people I know based on Facebook posts and updates is just the worst.
Home is only going to make that happen more, and more immediately. So instead of going to happy hour and discussing out loud all the things you probably have been reading about your friends over the last week, you’d constantly be getting pinged with updates to talk about.
And then, before you know it, where your brain used to be is a giant “Connect” button.
But there’s no denying it, Facebook Home is pretty. The pictures are big, Chat heads are fluid, the cover photo scheme is nice. But it’s lipstick on a pig; a really annoying pig that won’t leave me just a little bit alone. The design is like this close to confusing me into wanting Home, and then I remember how the last thing in this world I need is to use Facebook more. (Not to mention the fact that my social circle isn’t taking and constantly uploading high-res photos of their trips to beautiful national parks. Do I really want to see an endless stream of iPhone-taken baby photos and food porn across my phone? No. No. A thousand times, no.)
If I want to use Facebook, I can use Facebook. The company has given me oh-so-many ways to access the social network. I get it, engagement is down and Facebook fatigue is a very real thing. But it’s starting to look desperate: Do you want to enable push notifications? Do you want to update your status? I don’t know, it’s been awhile, maybe you should! No? Okay, what about a layer that sits on your phone and turns it into an all-Facebook-all-the-time machine!? The antidote isn’t to shove more Facebook down my throat, guys. I’m getting plenty, thanks.
But what really makes me mad is that I’m totally going to try it, dammit, because I’m a slave to the Facebook system (insert some quote from The Matrix here). And now you’ve made me hate myself. Thanks a lot.