Unhappy with ‘Your Year in Review?’

So was I. But not for the same reasons that have been getting the most attention, from Eric Meyer, which was reblogged by Slate, and Buzzfeed.

I looked at my Facebook ‘Year in Review.’ It didn’t look great. It looked like I had a sad year. But it wasn’t a sad year, at least not by my standards. By social media standards, yeah, I probably had a sad year. A friend of mine posted on Facebook about his ‘Year in Review,’ ‘not posting FB’s “Your Year in Review” because it makes my year look significantly less interesting than it actually was.’ I feel the same way about my ‘Year in Review.’

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But in response to the aforementioned articles, why are people expecting better from an app? It’s an app. You want it to differentiate sad posts from happy posts from sarcastic posts from satiric posts? I don’t. I don’t want technology that can do that. Or maybe this is another reason to have more options than just ‘like’ and ‘comment.’ But where would it end? And, by the way, you are responsible for what you post on social media. My year looks sad because I don’t post enough pictures or write ecstatic status updates about brunch.

Now, I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic, especially to Meyer’s situation. But we have choices when it comes to social media. We can choose to post and then keep those photos of our exes (I know, once something is on the internet it’s there forever, but it doesn’t have to be included in ‘Your Year in Review.’) I’m not saying Meyer could have or should have removed photos he posted of his daughter. But maybe it shouldn’t have been such a shock when they popped up. A painful reminder, yes, but not the fault of the app, or its designers.

Social media is a choice. You didn’t have to post that picture of your father’s ashes. You didn’t have to post that picture of you passed out at a party. You didn’t have to post pictures of your pets. If you did, then, yes, they might show up in ‘Your Year in Review.’ And, yes, unfortunately they may have shown up, unwarranted, at the top of your newsfeed when Facebook encouraged you to look at ‘Your Year in Review.’ But you have the choice not to look at the full video, not to post it. Or, at least, you did before Facebook removed the app.

We can’t expect our technology to have a conscience or to make better choices for us. I think it’s equally unfair to blame the app developers for any pain they may have unintentionally brought up for anyone. Maybe next year there will be an app that can sort through our posts. That way our years can look even better on social media than they already do in comparison to real life.

I don’t want to end this year on such a downer. So, here’s a thing I like from Buzzfeed: rememberlutions instead of resolutions.

And Happy New Year! May the next year be as filled with joy and sadness and silliness and regret and happiness and awkwardness as the last, regardless of what you choose to post or what your social media reflects!


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