We've always had a simple relationship.
At least, that's what I always thought.
Once in a while, I'd log on to Facebook in order to message someone I didn't know about an article I was writing.
You know, someone who'd posted an inane video. Or a police department.
That was it. I've had a Facebook account since the early days of the site, and I'd accept friend requests mostly from people I barely knew or didn't know at all.
But I've never spent much time on the site. Twitter's good enough and, to my eyes, it has a sharper level of bile.
I thought Facebook was cool about this. But then the messages began.
Did I know I had notifications pending?
The mere concept of a notification hanging in the air, wondering whether it would ever get read, why, it almost incited my sympathy.
Had I seen so-and-so-whom-I-don't-actually-know's update?
I hadn't. I didn't feel it would positively affect my life.
It seemed, once, that these messages would be intermittent. Now, they're far more regular, and I think it is Facebook's (barely) passive-aggressive way of telling me it's angry at me.
In the last seven days, for example, the site has sent the following emails:
1. A person whom I once worked with for five minutes has added a new video.
2. Someone I worked with 20 years ago shared a post from Architecture and Design.
3. Someone I last saw 10 years ago has shared a photo.
4. Another someone I last saw 10 years ago has added a new photo.
5. Someone whom I don't know has posted an update.
6. Someone I've met once in my life added a new photo.
7. Someone else whom I've met twice ever has added a new video.
8. Someone I worked with 18 years ago has posted an update.
9. Someone I don't know and someone I don't know and 8 others are new friend suggestions.
10. The same someone whom I don't know who posted an update a couple of days ago has also shared a link.
11. The same someone I've met twice ever has added a new photo.
12. The same someone I've met twice ever has added another new photo.
13. Someone I worked with 15 years ago has added an update.
And finally, the anger laid bare:
14. You have 99 notifications and 16 messages.
Also: Facebook tests 'things in common' label CNET
If this was a relationship -- you know, a human one -- it'd be more than a little creepy. Much more of this, and I'd be getting a restraining order.
What is it about a company that messages me twice a day to tell me that people have added photos, video, or updates?
If I cared, I'd have looked at them. Oddly, when I do care, I contact people directly, using such dated methods as email, text, and the face-to-face interaction. During the last option, people take out their phones and show me their pictures with live commentary. It's very exciting.
Yet Facebook won't take no for an answer, even though, with every message it sends, it gets the no of silence.
My colleague Jason Hiner yesterday described how Facebook has no answer for people who are choosing not to use communicate on the site.
It seems to believe that if it keeps doing the same thing over and over again, it'll get a different result.
One or two psychologists might quote Einstein's (or perhaps Mark Twain's) suggestion that this was a description of insanity.
One can't help thinking that Facebook is angry and it's going mad.
People, after all, are supposed to succumb to the system and behave as the machines deem. They're not supposed to walk away -- especially from something that's free. Or, rather, "free."
I'm worried, though. I fear the messages are going to become more frequent and more intense.
Also: Facebook data privacy scandal: A cheat sheet TechRepublic
You think you can just ghost me like this?
You think you can just walk away without giving me an explanation? You'll be sorry.
One day, I'm going to turn up at your door and look you in the eyes, you faithless worm.
I tried to forget about all this. I tried to get on with my life and live it as simply as I could.
On Saturday, though, there was another message: "chrismatyszczyk, see new posts from (NameRedacted1), (NameRedacted2), (Name Redacted3), and more."
It was from Instagram.
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