Danny Wallace’s year in print was pretty entertaining and having once lived around the corner from him, you know, I feel deeply connected to him… But I have 4 small children, and saying yes more often just isn’t an option in this household.
Can I have crisps for breakfast? That would only be the start of it. Can you imagine the chaos?
So, no year of saying Yes for me. But I did start, recently, a little project of my own, although not quite so bold. Prompted while I was nursing and scrolling through Facebook: my 8 month old twisted around and tapped the screen, ‘liking’ someone’s update on my feed.
Slightly awkward, really, as it was someone I hadn’t spoken to for a while. But then I thought – hang on – I’m friends, in the Facebook sense, with all these people! Why shouldn’t I like the update? Actually – shouldn’t I be liking all the things that they deem important enough to share?
If, while chatting to a friend – or even an acquaintance who I only very partly liked – if they told me about something they’d done lately, or showed me a photo of their child, I’d like to think I wouldn’t totally ignore them. But here I was, on Facebook, with their baby photos thrust under my nose, and I was blanking them, scrolling past as though they were someone I didn’t even know.
OK. Enough was enough. I would like everything on my feed!
My Facebook feed is largely news agencies and companies
As I started scrolling, keen bean ready to like away, I realised how much of my feed is made up of news updates (helpful), companies (interesting, sometimes?), and photos of hilarious memes (mostly animal related, always dull).
Should I like all these updates too? Maybe. I merrily liked a post shared by the Mumsnet network… but the next post was an article from the Huffington Post on some kind of 50shades material and, call me a prude but I couldn’t do it. This is a Facebook friend-like project anyway, not some corporate like project! Let’s keep this simple (and not scare my Facebook savvy grandmother).
Where are all the things to like
I ‘like’ some new cover photos of people I haven’t spoken to in years. I like a random in-joke status that I don’t understand. I like some baby photos. But mostly I scroll, because my feed is full of friends liking other people’s posts.
Why am I Facebook friends with people I ignore
I like a birthday photo, the son of someone I had a minor disagreement with years ago and normally would scroll straight past. I admit, I wince a little as I press ‘like’. But in the name of the project I nobly persevere.
Although, I wonder…Why am I friends with someone if I feel uncomfortable liking their posts? I scroll back, and unfriend. Admittedly if she notices that pattern then she’s going to think I’m a little strange.
The fine line
A schooldays boyfriend tagged in some photos with his wife. Like? That’s fine. I refresh my feed. 5 more photos of him tagged, individually.
New clause: no repeat liking of a group of photos, otherwise I’ll look pretty odd and that really isn’t the point of this exercise, is it? I don’t need any help on the losing friends front right now. One like per update per person is plenty.
Just liked a status written in Russian accompanying a picture of a bee. Why not?!
The slow dawning
I realise one huge, ever profound lesson from this project. Namely, Facebook is dull. My friends and I are too old for Facebook to be anything other than a place to announce births, engagements, house moves and new jobs. In essence, it is just a long and relatively more up-to-date alumni newsletter, but with a little more smugness and a lot more boring photos of dogs.
After this major discovery, I still find myself scrolling through Facebook as though it were something interesting; and I am pretty liberal with my likes these days. But I have also been hunting down some new breastfeeding online reading material. Some surprising results forthcoming, additional tip offs very welcome.