If you’re like me, you’ve been seeing your Facebook feed fill up with everyone’s Facebook is 10 videos. Maybe you’ve even clicked and watched a few. The first one is fun. Then they quickly get kind of annoying. Not just because the music is the same, but because the content is too.
Facebook is a weird weird place. Everyone’s posting their own personal propaganda to show how great their lives are. The kind of posts that get the most likes are the usual life announcements—births, engagements, weddings—which we feel obligated to respond to, or at the very least like.
Now, this isn’t the only type of activity which occurs on Facebook. But it’s all that the Facebook movies focus on. The result is a distillation of Facebook to its bot essence* where only those activities which are the most automated small talk type of activities garner enough interest to be noteworthy.
*Seriously, READ that link.
I’d be bored if I wasn’t so fascinated by the choices here. The movies are almost exclusively photos. Which means that I didn’t get one because I haven’t shared any photos—Facebook tells me I haven’t shared “enough” in general. But I share links—both to news items and my Flickr photos. And I make status updates. And I comment on other people’s items. Yet apparently all this communication is nowhere near as memorable or noteworthy or representative of my time on Facebook as posting photos.
Heck, if Facebook really wanted to show people what they’ve done in their time on Facebook, we’d be seeing videos featuring “highlights” from Farmville, Mafia Wars, Bejewelled Blitz, Candy Crush, Bitstrips, etc.
Part of me understands why photos are what Facebook considers to be the most important thing. Most Facebook updates are little more than declarations of where someone is, what they’re doing, or what just happened. So comparing text to photo to video, the photos are a nice happy medium between being more descriptive than text and something people will actually watch since, let’s face it, no one watches videos.
That said, Google demonstrated years ago now how powerful just text-only videos can be at summarizing your life so I can’t claim photos are inherently superior here. In any case, the photos which Facebook is selecting are typically tied to events where a text-only status update would also generate a similar number of likes and comments*
*The automated nature of how Facebook is choosing what photos to choose makes me think about a Flickr slideshow for its 10-year birthday (also this year) which uses just its Interestingness Algorithm. That would also be a pretty boring selection of my photos.
It’s also noting that while there’s a weekly “death of photography” article posted on the web, how Facebook’s focus appears to suggest otherwise. So many of our social norms are around the concept of photographing key events for display. The Facebook videos show that we still show off in public for the same events that my grandparents did.
I’m not an avid Facebook user but I’d love to see alternative approaches to summarizing my time on there. Whether it’s a text-based video or one which incorporates information about who I interact with the most. I’d like to see something which doesn’t make us all look like bots and pulls out more of our individuality. I see enough of the standard small talk on Facebook enough as it is.