1. Your message has been ‘seen’
Of all the Zuckerberg (and post-Zuckerberg) initiatives, this has to be the one with the gravest consequences for human interaction and indeed, general mental health. Now notifying you when the recipient of a message has clocked your overture, Facebook has successfully woven paranoia into the satiny fabric of the virtual to-and-fro. Keen to organise a coffee? Trying to salvage a nose-diving relationship? Desperate to know, following the futile utilisation of all other means of contact, if a loved one is still alive? This automated acknowledgement works to the minute, pulling a victorious tick that says ‘up yours! They’re not interested’.
2. This comment underwent edition
As a slowly decomposing jobseeker, I probably expend more artistic and intellectual energy on my comment posts than I do on my post-graduate applications. What do you mean that’s not healthy? And who are you anyway? Haven’t you worked in Nike Factory Outlet for 5 years? Didn’t your boyfriend turn out to be gay? I thought so.
The pride, albeit pathetic, one feels upon having whipped out a quip to the thundering acclaim of their total friend count used to be unassailable – but thanks to the introduction of a facility that tracks the last-minute alterations you made to your joke, not any more. Your failure to bind the flailing limbs of the gorily ill-formed baby witticism that shot prematurely from the womb of your mediocre sense of humour lies on your Wall and wails. Ever seen a programme called ‘The Making of a Joke’? ‘Mirth: A Post-Mortem?’ ‘Knock Knock’ ‘Wait a Moment – I’m Still Thinking’? Of course you haven’t: it’s the same principle.
3. See your highlights of 2013
This isn’t invasive – it’s just sad. Sad to witness, sad to undergo, and positively devastating to recount. This function scours your Feed and photos for your year’s milestones and presents them to you in a fun and easy list. Despite having travelled to New York, turned 21, graduated, entered a half-marathon and got married (I haven’t – this was a stunningly original manipulation of my settings by a friend, but Facebook can’t possibly know that), the items on my list (in order of gravity) consisted of a picture I’d liked of a baby puffin falling over, a photograph I took of some Wagon Wheel biscuits, and an under-appreciated status I wrote about two chavs having a fight on a field.
4. ‘I am doing…’
This is also wretched, but a nadir I am yet to descend to. Status-completion has reached a new extreme of ease with the availability of a range of pursuits and sentiments. More sophisticated than ‘happy’, ‘sad’ and ‘blindly opinionated’, options are as diverse as ‘blessed’, ‘pretty’, ‘safe’, ‘special’ and the rather sinister and ambiguous ‘bad’ (the emotion a killer might select following the disposal of their victim). If this oddly robotic self-indulgence isn’t off-putting enough, one can share their activity too. Are you ‘playing cricket’? Are you ‘drinking milk’? Or are you ‘listening to Mental Defect’? Or are you doing all three? Sorry – ‘slowly losing all my friends’ is not a listed activity.
5. ‘Add a Life Event’
Facebook’s inveterate inability to deal discreetly with the ups and downs of the human experience was always a given – its boisterous, broken-heart-stickered announcement of break-ups testifies to that. Fork in the road? Tell the world that today you ‘got fired’, ‘bought a gerbil’, ‘donated an organ’ or, rather exposingly, experienced your ‘first kiss’. Charming and pivotal, no doubt (the kiss, not the pancreatic transfer) – but not unlike broadcasting the theft of your sandwiches, an unwanted incident of erectile dysfunction, or the slaughter of you first teddy bear by the metallic ravages of your washing machine: inexplicable acts of treachery against oneself in which you wouldn’t invoke the aid of a social utility.