Thursday, June 30, 2016

Facebook for fluff, not the news?

One of the things I did awhile back was set up this weblog so that every single commentary I post here winds up on my Facebook page.

I suspect that for many of the people who have bothered to “friend” me on Facebook, it has nothing to do with them thinking of me as a real human being. It is more that a piece of copy I wrote caught their eye – and friend-ing me is an easy way to see if I come up with something else they consider relevant or interesting, or perhaps just downright silly and stupid!

WHICH IS WHAT I have always considered Facebook to be about – allowing people to indulge themselves in the trivialities of life.
Is Rocco cute enuogh to top Selena Gomez?

Particularly those that can be passed about from "friend" to "friend." I'm pretty sure a thoughtful commentary on my part about the politically partisan nonsense being spewed by public officials in Springfield, Ill., on Wednesday will be less regarded than if I were to post a picture of the dog my father and step-mother now care for.

The story of Rocco, I’m sure, would be more interesting to the Facebook kind of people than anything more legitimate.

It is why I’m not terribly shocked by the announcement Facebook officials made on Wednesday to say they’re making changes in the programs that determine what exactly makes it into the “News Feeds” that wind up on peoples’ personal pages.

THE EMPHASIS IS going to be placed on stuff that people choose to share with each other. The stuff that larger companies, including many newsgathering organizations that think the key to readership is Facebook, will be downplayed.

On a certain level, I get it.
Selena tops Rauner/Madigan ...
Facebook was originally created by college students as a social network one step up from the idea of passing messages along to each other via a particular computer’s network.

It wasn’t really meant for larger companies to use as a way of distributing their messages – or in the case of newsgathering organizations as an alternative way of disseminating their product.

I DON’T DOUBT that the most hard-core of Facebook users (the kind of people who are miserable if they’re not on some sort of device that gives them their access) are probably cheering at the thought that all the “boring” stuff will get less priority.
... any day of the week!
More cute, fuzzy pictures of kittens or pictures of our stupid cousin Johnny and the time he was foolish enough to stick a pickle up his nose – only to find that it got stuck (and that’s just a hypothetical, my cousin Johnny never actually did that – although he has his own share of silly moments he’d rather not share).

I know in my case, one of the most popular things I posted recently on Facebook was timed for Father’s Day; as in a decades-old photograph of my father with my brother and I.

Which actually fit in with all the other paternal pictures that people felt compelled to pass about a week ago – and will probably stash away for another year until Father’s Day returns.

STASHED AWAY BECAUSE they’re now rendered obsolete by the stories about singer Selena Gomez wearing a denim bikini in pictures on her Instagram account. There’s a reason they call these things “social media;” they’re not about anything significant – just titillating!

So I can’t quite get all worked up like some people are about how Facebook is supposedly undermining the free flow of information that people might need in order to live better-informed lives. That was never their purpose.

Just like anybody who seriously watches “The Daily Show” for news and information is worthy of any ridicule we throw their way – that program is about entertainment and generating a laugh at the expense of those in public life.

And perhaps at anybody who seriously thinks they can rely on their Facebook “News Feed” to give them the “News!”


EDITOR’S NOTE: How many people got their snoozefest, so to speak, at the reports about how newspapers across Illinois ran editorials Wednesday lambasting all state government officials for the fact that we’re about to begin Fiscal Year Two without a balanced budget for the state? Yeah, Selena’s gams were much more intriguing.

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